Who should get vaccinated for flu this season?

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Everyone 6 months of age and older should get a flu vaccine every season. Vaccination to prevent influenza is particularly important for people who are at high risk of serious complications from influenza. See People at High Risk of Developing Flu-Related Complications for a full list of age and health factors that confer increased risk.

Flu vaccination has important benefits. It can reduce flu illnesses, doctors’ visits, and missed work and school due to flu, as well as prevent flu-related hospitalizations.

Different flu vaccines are approved for use in different groups of people. Factors that can determine a person’s suitability for vaccination, or vaccination with a particular vaccine, include a person’s age, health (current and past) and any relevant allergies.

Flu shots are approved for use in pregnant women and people with chronic health conditions.  There are flu shots that also are approved for use in people as young as 6 months of age and up.

CDC recommends use of the flu shot (inactivated influenza vaccine or IIV) and the recombinant influenza vaccine (RIV). The nasal spray flu vaccine (live attenuated influenza vaccine or LAIV) should not be used during 2016-2017.

More information is available at Who Should Get Vaccinated Against Influenza.

September is National Preparedness Month

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Week 1: Prepare globally. Diseases know no borders, which is why we need to work together to stop epidemics quickly and close to the source. Partners around the world are combining efforts to prevent, detect, and quickly respond to public health emergencies of international concern.

Week 2: Prepare to respond. A cornerstone of response, Emergency Operations Centers(http://www.cdc.gov/phpr/eoc/emergency-operations-centers.htm) are where highly trained experts monitor information, prepare for known (and unknown) public health events, and gather to exchange information and make decisions in an emergency. No matter the size of a country’s EOC or the equipment they have available, trained experts who know what to do are the key to responding effectively and saving lives.

Week 3: Prepare locally. In the U.S., state and local health departments play a critical role in keeping people safe from public health threats. As Zika virus(http://www.cdc.gov/zika/index.html) spread through the Americas, state and local officials began preparing for Zika virus in the U.S. The response suddenly became local when the first cases of local transmission of Zika virus were reported in a northwest Miami neighborhood(http://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2016/p0729-florida-zika-cases.html).

Week 4: Prepare together. Research shows that close-knit neighborhoods are more resilient during a disaster. We can all volunteer to help our communities prepare and respond before, during, and after an emergency. The first people who respond to an emergency don’t have to wear a uniform or have a vehicle with a siren, but they all share one quality—they want to help others who are in trouble.

Week 5: Prepare yourself. One way you can prepare for emergencies is by having a kit ready to keep your family safe and healthy. It is important to have different types of kits for a variety of emergency situations: a kit for your home if you have to shelter in place, a kit with supplies for your car in case you have to evacuate, and a first aid kit in case someone is injured. If you live in a state(http://www.cdc.gov/zika/geo/united-states.html) or area(http://www.cdc.gov/zika/geo/active-countries.html) with the mosquito that spreads Zika virus, you may also want to put together a Zika Prevention Kit(http://www.cdc.gov/zika/prevention/prevention-kit.html) that can help prevent mosquito bites.