People, people, people, this is going to be a nasty flu season - so please, make sure your entire family has had their seasonal and H1N1 flu shots! A recent study by the Stanford University School of Medicine suggests that providing flu shots in October rather than in November, would save lives and money.
Putting it simply, vaccinating as many people as early as possible is the best way to avoid the flu. There are different risk groups for the seasonal and H1N1 (swine) flu. The highest risk group for swine flu is healthy children between the ages of 2 and 10 years old, since they are the most likely age group to get H1N1 flu. People over 60 are not likely to get the swine flu, but are at risk for the seasonal flu.
Seasonal flu vaccine has been available for weeks and is recommended for everyone. Annual (or seasonal) flu shots were first recommended for children aged 6 to 23 months in 2004, for children 2 to 5 years in 2006, and to all children ages 5 to 18 in 2008. If it is the first time they are getting a flu vaccine, children under 8 years old should get two doses (separated by 4 weeks) of the seasonal vaccine, but other children (over age 9) only need a single dose.
The flu season this year is expected to be really bad, and there have been cases of the flu during the summer that have put people in bed for weeks - which most of us cannot afford. In most states the percentage of teens that have received the recommended flu shots is under 15%, which is completely unacceptable. Most insurance companies pay 100% for flu shots and if you go to a clinic, there is likely not a co-pay. If you do not have insurance, talk to your employer about protecting productivity and providing free flu shots to workers and their families.