Do I Need the Vaccine and Where Can I Get It?
The single best way to protect against seasonal flu is to get vaccinated each year. The 2012-2013 seasonal flu vaccine is now available. Fall is the best time to get vaccinated, but getting vaccinated later in the flu season—in December, January, and beyond—still provides protection, as flu season normally peaks in January or later.
Who Should Get Vaccinated Against Seasonal Influenza
New recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) indicate that everyone 6 months of age and older should get vaccinated against the influenza as soon as the 2012-2013 season vaccine is available.
While everyone should get a flu vaccine each influenza season, it’s especially important that the following groups get vaccinated either because they are at high risk of having serious influenza-related complications or because they live with or care for people at high risk for developing influenza-related complications:
- Pregnant women
- Children younger than 5, but especially children younger than 2 years old
- People 50 years of age and older
- People of any age with certain chronic medical conditions
- People who live in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities
- People who live with or care for those at high risk for complications from influenza, including:
- Health care workers
- Household contacts of persons at high risk for complications from the flu
- Household contacts and out of home caregivers of children less than 6 months of age (these children are too young to be vaccinated)
The prevention tips below will help Montanans protect themselves and others from infection by influenza viruses:
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs spread this way.
- Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
- If you are sick with flu–like illness, CDC recommends that you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities. (Your fever should be gone without the use of a fever-reducing medicine.)
- While sick, limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them.