Vaccination – your best defense
Anyone can get influenza. In fact, millions of people in the U.S. are infected with the virus each season. Influenza is a serious respiratory illness that’s easily spread and can lead to severe complications, including pneumonia and death. Pneumonia is an infection of your lungs and can cause serious illness and even death. Vaccination – your best defense.
Vaccination is safe and effective, and the best way to protect yourself and your loved ones against the complications of influenza and pneumonia. Remember, vaccination alone isn’t 100 percent effective. You can also help reduce the spread of infection by frequently and thoroughly washing your hands and containing your coughs and sneezes in a tissue or the crook of your elbow.
Groups at higher risk include:
Children and infants six months and older because their immune systems have not developed fully
Pregnant women because changes in their immune systems make them more sensitive to the flu
People 50 years of age and older because the immune system weakens with age
People of any age with certain chronic medical conditions, such as asthma, COPD, heart disease, diabetes and others, as they are more vulnerable to serious complications
People who live in group settings because the flu virus and germs that cause pneumonia can spread rapidly