The best known way to prevent getting influenza is getting a flu shot. Most flu vaccines that are being manufactured protect against three flu strains (trivalent). However, there are now more options than ever before, with a flu vaccine that is four times more potent for the elderly, an additional flu strain covered in a quadrivalent flu vaccine, a nasal spray flu vaccine and even a flu vaccine for egg allergy sufferers. With 135 million doses already available, the key is compliance.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), compliance rates are up among the most at-risk groups, with 57 percent of children, over half of pregnant women, and 72 percent of health care workers now getting flu shots. But the numbers need to be higher. Health care workers especially need to protect their patients by being vaccinated.
Young children, the elderly and people with immune system problems are more susceptible to developing serious health problems if they catch the flu.
The CDC recommends that everyone over the age of 6 months should get a flu shot. It reported that during last year’s (2012-2013) particularly bad flu season, about 42 percent of adults received a flu shot, up from 39 percent the previous flu season.
However, public health officials would still like to see more people vaccinated. While the flu vaccine is not perfect, it is the best way to protect yourself from the flu, according to the CDC.