Q & A: The facts on flu shots

October 4, 2011

With the arrival of flu season, here are some basics on influenza. The flu is highly contagious, which makes it important to know how to protect yourself and others.

Who should get a flu shot?
The Multnomah County Health Department recommends everyone six months and older get a flu shot.

Why get vaccinated?
Getting a flu shot can reduce sick time at work and time away to care for family. People can spread the flu even if they don't think they’re sick. Babies, the elderly and people with compromised immune systems are the most likely to be hospitalized or die from flu-related illness. However, most people don’t realize that young, healthy, unvaccinated children and adults can pass the flu to others.

When should you get a shot?
Flu season begins in autumn and lasts through March and public health officials say it’s best to be vaccinated early for optimal protection. Plenty of vaccine is available and has already been distributed throughout the U.S. Even if you got a flu shot last year, you should get one this year too. The vaccine is the same combination and includes protection from the H1N1 virus.

Where can you get a shot?
From your healthcare provider, pharmacist or drug store.

What else can you do?
Wash hands vigorously with soap and water.
Cover your cough and sneeze.

For more information: flu.oregon.gov