Prevention is the key: experts urge the public to get vaccinated against influenza

experts urge the public to get vaccinated against influenza
President of Stony Brook University, Dr. Samuel L. Stanley, Jr. gets a flu shot annually.

As the weather becomes colder in the fall, people should start thinking about how to prevent the influenza virus, or the flu.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the best way to prevent the flu is by getting vaccinated each year.

Flu is a contagious respiratory illness that can have mild to severe symptoms in the nose, throat and lungs. Flu season begins in the fall and can run through May.

Scientists recommend getting vaccinated by the end of October, and this can protect people in the entire season.

In Stony Brook University, scientists are urging students, faculty, staff and the community to stay proactive and get vaccinated against the flu.

Last week during a 12-hour event, the Stony Brook Medicine Hospital Emergency Management Team vaccinated almost 1,700 employees and students.

Currently, the Stony Brook University Hospital Employee Health program is offering free flu shots to all employees and students with hospital access.

It is estimated that every year about 40 million people in the United States get the flu. About 19 million people will have to see a doctor. Many millions of people will miss work, and a lot of students miss classes.

The influenza virus is extremely unpredictable. Its severity can vary widely from one season to the next depending on many things.

Important factors include the strains of flu that are spreading, availability of vaccines, how many people get vaccinated and how well the flu vaccine is matched to the flu viruses circulating each season.

The CDC experts recommends a yearly flu vaccine for everyone 6 months and older.

Vaccines can reduce flu illnesses and prevent flu-related hospitalizations. Flu vaccines have been updated for the 2016-2017 season.

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News Source: Stony Brook University.
Figure legend: This image is credited to Stony Brook University.