National Influenza Vaccination WeekNo one wants to experience the fever, cough, and body aches that often come with influenza. That’s especially true with the holiday season quickly approaching. The good news: You can still get the 2022-23 influenza vaccine for protection against the flu this year.

Arizona is experiencing a busy flu season so far. Since the season began in October, there have been about 7,900 cases of flu reported across the state. 

Dec. 5-9 is National Influenza Vaccination Week, when everyone 6 months and older who has not already been vaccinated in 2022 is encouraged to get a flu shot. Because it takes about two weeks for your body to be protected after vaccination, there’s still time to get your shot before most holiday parties and carry that protection until spring.

The flu shot can prevent you from getting the flu, but more importantly can prevent the most-severe symptoms and even hospitalization if you get sick. 

People at high risk include pregnant women, children younger than 5, but especially children younger than 2 years old, and those 65 years of age and older. Also at high risk are those with certain long-term medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes, and heart disease. 

Vaccinating pregnant women not only helps protect them from flu illness and hospitalization, but also has been shown to help protect the baby from flu infection for several months after birth, before the baby can be vaccinated. 

Influenza was the 11th-leading cause of death in Arizona in 2019, claiming 947 lives. Children are among those most vulnerable. Over the last five flu seasons, there have been 14 flu-related deaths in Arizona among those age 17 and younger, including three last season and two so far this season.

In addition to the vaccine, you protect yourself and others from getting the flu by being vigilant in good hygiene: Avoid touching your mouth and nose, wash your hands frequently, cover your cough in your sleeve and stay home when you are sick.