Influenza (flu) season is unpredictable and can vary from year to year. Flu activity commonly peaks from December through February in the U.S.; however, it can begin as early as October. Because it takes about two weeks after vaccination to provide protection against the flu, the St. Mary’s County Health Department reminds residents to get vaccinated as soon as possible. Children 6 months through 8 years of age who need two doses of vaccine should receive the first dose as soon as possible to allow time to get the second dose before the start of flu season. The two doses should be given at least 4 weeks apart.
Influenza immunizations are recommended for everyone over the age of six months. It is especially important for individuals who are at high risk for complications, including:
- Children six months to 18 years of age
- Persons 50 years of age and older
- Pregnant women
- Persons with chronic medical conditions such as diabetes, heart, lung or kidney disease
- Persons undergoing therapy or with a condition that may weaken their immune system
Persons who care for someone in these groups should be sure to get vaccinated to avoid spreading the flu to them. This includes healthcare workers, caregivers, and daycare and school workers.
Immunizations are typically offered in primary care doctors’ offices. The St. Mary’s County Health Department also offers flu vaccinations, by appointment only, for a fee of $25. Please call 301-475-4330 to schedule an appointment.
More information on influenza vaccination is available at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.