Influenza is a contagious disease caused by a virus. It is most often spread through coughing, sneezing, and nasal secretions. Although most people are sick for a few days to a week, young children, older adults (over 65), pregnant women, and those with certain health problems and weaker immune systems are more likely to develop severe illness. Every year thousands of people die from influenza, and many more are hospitalized.
In the 2017-2018 flu season, Montana had 979 hospitalizations and 79 deaths. In the U.S., it is estimated 79,000 deaths occurred.
The influenza vaccine can help protect you and your family from getting sick, while also protecting the health of the community. It can limit the spread of influenza to those who are the most susceptible.
The flu season may last from September through March, and it’s best to get the flu shot as soon as it’s available in order to protect you and your family for the entire season.
Vaccinations are recommended for:
Everyone over the age of six months, especially those who are in close contact with infants under six months of age
Those who are around or are included in high-risk populations, which includes young children, older adults (over 65), and pregnant women
Those with certain health problems and weaker immune systems
Every fall and winter, the Gallatin City-County Health Department hosts walk-in flu clinics and also takes appointments for flu vaccinations.