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CDC recommends vaccinations as flu virus makes its return

It’s that time of year again — the time of thanks and the time of giving, and unfortunately it’s also the time of sneezing and aching. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention the timing of the flu is very unpredictable and can vary from season to season.

Flu activity typically peaks in the U.S. in January or February, while seasonal flu activity can begin as early as October and continue to occur as late as May. In Alabama, flu outbreaks usually occur between November and March. Common symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, headache and fatigue. The CDC recommends people get a flu vaccination as soon as the 2012-2013 flu season vaccine becomes available in their community, and for Dallas County that happened in early September.

“A majority have gotten the flu shot, but I can’t speak on behalf of the physicians because I know they do flu shots as well, but we’re still doing them,” Stacey Adams, public information officer for the Dallas County Health Department said. “We have an ample supply and we do them on Monday, Tuesday and Friday.”

The CDC says flu seasons are unpredictable in a number of ways.

“Although epidemics of flu happen every year, the timing, severity, and length of the epidemic depends on many factors, including what influenza viruses are spreading, whether they match the viruses in the vaccine, and how many people get the vaccine,” the CDC reports. “CDC recommends that influenza vaccination begin as soon as vaccine becomes available in the community and continue throughout the flu season. It takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body and provide protection against influenza, and influenza seasons can begin as early as October.”

For most people, the flu only lasts a few days, but for others it can lead to pneumonia and breathing problems, Adams said in previous interviews. In children, it can cause high fever and seizures.

CDC recommends that everyone 6 months and older get a flu vaccine each year.

“Getting a flu vaccine is the first and most important step in protecting against this serious disease,” they report.