There's still time to get a flu shot

February 5, 2014
There's still time to get a flu shot
Younger adults seem at risk this year, FDA says.

(HealthDay)—It's still not too late to get a flu shot, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said Wednesday.

Flu activity often peaks in January or February and can last well into May, and a protects you as long as are circulating, the FDA said.

Children and seniors tend to be most susceptible to flu. But sometimes a will affect more young and middle-aged adults. That appears to be the case this , the agency said.

An unusually high number of severe respiratory illness in young and middle-aged Americans were reported to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in November and December, the FDA said in a news release.

Many of those cases were caused by the H1N1 "swine flu" strain that affected more children and young adults than older adults during the 2009 pandemic. Protection against the 2009 H1N1 virus, which has circulated each year since the pandemic, is included in this year's vaccine, the FDA said.

"Influenza seasons and severity are often unpredictable. Annual influenza vaccination is the best way to prevent influenza among people 6 months of age and older," Marion Gruber, director of the FDA's Office of Vaccine Research and Review, said in the news release.

"However, taking such practical measures as washing hands, covering coughs and sneezes and staying home when sick can also help to decrease the spread and minimize the effects of flu," she added.

Antiviral drugs, such as Tamiflu, aren't a substitute for a flu shot, but they can help treat the flu, according to the FDA.

New flu vaccines need to be produced every year because different subtypes and strains of viruses circulate each season, Gruber explained.

"The closer the match between the circulating strains causing disease and the virus strains in the vaccine, the better the protection against influenza," she said.

Federal health officials have previously reported that this year's vaccine is a good match for the circulating viruses.

Explore further: FDA approves first 4-in-1 flu vaccine

More information: The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more about flu vaccination.

Related Stories

FDA approves first 4-in-1 flu vaccine

February 29, 2012

Federal health officials have approved the first vaccine that protects against four strains of the common flu, offering one additional layer of protection against the influenza virus that affects millions each year.

US flu cases continue to climb

January 10, 2014

(HealthDay)—Flu season continues to tighten its grip on the United States, with 35 states now experiencing widespread influenza activity, federal officials reported Friday.

Recommended for you

Monkeys in Asia harbor virus from humans, other species

November 19, 2015

When it comes to spreading viruses, bats are thought to be among the worst. Now a new study of nearly 900 nonhuman primates in Bangladesh and Cambodia shows that macaques harbor more diverse astroviruses, which can cause ...

One-step test for hepatitis C virus infection developed

November 14, 2015

UC Irvine Health researchers have developed a cost-effective one-step test that screens, detects and confirms hepatitis C virus (HCV) infections. Dr. Ke-Qin Hu, director of hepatology services, will present findings at the ...

Computer model reveals deadly route of Ebola outbreak

November 10, 2015

Using a novel statistical model, a research team led by Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health mapped the spread of the 2014-2015 Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone, providing the most detailed picture to date ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.