Flu season is right around the corner, which is why the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is reminding all Americans — even healthy adults — to get the flu vaccine.
According to the CDC, few healthy adults are bothering to get the flu shot. Records show that most of the people who received the flu vaccine last year were children or seniors. Whereas seven in ten children under age five and two-thirds of seniors were vaccinated, only about one in three healthy adults between the ages of 18 and 64 bothered to get the flu shot.
However, doctors say it’s important everyone get the flu shot, as about 24,000 Americans are killed by the flu each year. Not all of those victims were children or seniors, the CDC notes. “The best way to protect yourself against the flu is to get a flu vaccination,” insisted CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden.
Part of the problem is that flu shots are sometimes in short supply, leaving healthy adults feeling like they should leave the limited vaccine supply to children and seniors. However, Friedan says that roughly 150 million doses of the flu shot will be available this year, meaning no shortage is expected.
There are even solutions for people who can’t handle the sight of needles. This year the CDC plans to make its “ouchless” FluMist nasal spray more available than ever before. There’s also a special tiny-needle shot that only penetrates the skin, stopping before reaching the muscle.
So, when should Americans be getting the shot?
“Now’s the time,” noted Frieden, who added that it’s difficult to tell when the flu will begin spreading. While the most aggressive period of flu season is usually January or February, it’s impossible to rule out an earlier spike in flu infections.