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The Flu, the Proud, the Unseen

It’s that time of year again. As the leaves change color and the pigskins start flying, people are confronted with a somewhat less enjoyable reality. Flu season is upon us.

It can arrive as early as October, according to the Centers for Disease Control, and with it comes the perennial question: Do you get a flu shot or not? For some it’s a no-brainer; others are against it on principle. And some just don’t think about it at all until they get sick.

Well, after a few seasons of knock-you-off-your-feet colds, even unbelievers can usually be swayed. This year, according to Colorado Access, one shot protects against seasonal flu and 2009 H1N1.

So who should get vaccinated? The CDC recommends anyone over 6 months of age, but especially people who are at high risk of developing serious complications like pneumonia if they get sick, people who have asthma, diabetes and chronic lung disease, pregnant women, people 65 and older and individuals who live with or care for others who are high risk.

Influenza viruses change from year to year, hence the annual shots. Manufacturers this year expect they will produce roughly 146 to 149 million doses.  Flu vaccines work by causing antibodies to develop in the body about two weeks after the shots. The antibodies protect against infection with the viruses that are in the vaccine.

Call your primary care physician to get more information. Or there are a number of places to get flu shots and a bunch of organizations who provide them. A partial list is below:

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