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    The Flu Vaccine: Get the Facts

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    Flu” is a little word that gets passed around a lot these days. It’s also a big disease that you should take seriously. In 2013, more than 3,600 people died from it.

    To protect yourself and stop the spread, you need a flu vaccine. Learn what it is and when to get it to help keep your family flu-free.

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    The Flu Vaccine: What Is It?

    It’s a shot that protects you from the flu virus. You normally get it in your arm, but you can also get it as a nasal spray. It’s made from the three or four flu viruses that are most likely to make you sick during the upcoming year.

    Who Should Get It?

    Almost everyone 6 months of age and older.

    Some people are more at risk of getting very sick from complications of the flu than others. These groups should be sure to get a flu shot each year:

    • Children, especially from 6 months of age to the age of 5
    • Pregnant women
    • Seniors over age 65
    • People with existing health conditions
    • Travelers and people living abroad

    The following people should not get a flu shot:

    • Children under 6 months old
    • People who are very allergic to the flu shot or any of its ingredients

    Talk to your doctor before you get the shot if you have any of these symptoms:

    • An allergy to eggs or any of the other ingredients in the vaccine (in cases of severe allergies, the shot should be administered by a health care expert who can treat a severe allergic reaction)
    • A history of Guillian-Barre syndrome or chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy
    • If you’re just not feeling well

    When Should I Get It?

    As soon as they become available, by October, if possible. It’s best to get the vaccine before the flu season starts. But you can still get it in January or even later.

    Types of Flu Vaccine

    There are many. Ask your doctor which one will work best for you.

    The standard flu vaccine protects you from three different flu viruses. You get this shot in your muscle. If you don’t like needles and you are 18-64 years old, your doctor may be able to use a jet injector to give it to you. It’s a high-pressure tool that squirts the medicine into your skin. If you’re age 65 or older, you can get a high-dose flu vaccine. It’s four times stronger than the regular flu shot.

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