The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) expects flu season to begin ramping up in the next few months. According to the CDC, the flu season often begins increasing around October with peak flu season occurring between December and February.
If you have or have had cancer, keep in mind the following points to help you stay healthy:
- Every person age 6 months or older should get a flu shot.
- Since 2010, the CDC estimates that the flu has resulted in between 9.2 million and 35.6 million illnesses, between 140,000 and 710,000 hospitalizations, and between 12,000 and 56,000 deaths annually in the United States.
- Although we don’t know if cancer survivors get infected with influenza viruses more often, people who have or have had cancer are at higher risk for complications if they get the flu.
- Each year, pneumococcal disease kills over 16,000 adults age 65 or older.
- The CDC recommends that adults 65 and older, and those ages 19-64 with immunocompromised conditions such as cancer, should receive two pneumonia vaccinations, PCV13 and PPSV23, during two doctor visits.
The timing, duration, and severity of flu season varies year to year. Because the vaccine takes about two weeks to take effect, the CDC recommends getting it before the end of October to ensure that it works before exposure to illness. Getting vaccinated at any time throughout flu season is still more beneficial than not receiving it at all, however.
For more information, visit www.cdc.gov/cancer/flu and www.cdc.gov/flu/about/season/flu-season-2018-2019.htm.
This article was adapted from information provided by Fight Colorectal Cancer.
This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended as specific medical advice. For advice related to your specific medical condition, contact a qualified healthcare professional.