Currently all U.S. states (except Hawaii) continue to report widespread geographic flu activity. Some people are more likely to get flu complications that can result in hospitalization and sometimes death. This includes children and adults with neurological and neurodevelopmental disorders, such as cerebral palsy, epilepsy (seizure disorders), stroke, intellectual disability, moderate to severe developmental delay, muscular dystrophy, or spinal cord injury. CDC recommends that everyone, 6 months and older, get influenza vaccination, especially people who are at high risk of developing serious complications:
- children and adults with neurological and neurodevelopmental disorders;
- pregnant women (and women up to two weeks postpartum); and
- children younger than 5, but especially children younger than 2 years old.
Antiviral drugs can make flu illness milder and shorten the time you are sick. They can also reduce serious flu complications. Antiviral drugs are medicines (pills, liquid or an inhaled powder) prescribed by a doctor and are not available over-the-counter. Early antiviral treatment is recommended for all people with high risk conditions, if influenza is suspected. Prompt antiviral treatment for flu, even without confirmatory testing, is critical for people at high risk.
It’s not too late to get in the flu vaccination. As a reminder, it’s especially important that these individuals get an influenza vaccine each year to help protect them against influenza and related complications because of their high risk status. Annual influenza vaccination is also especially important for people who come in contact with these individuals who are at increased risk of flu complications. Flu vaccination is the best protection against influenza. It can reduce the risk of illness, hospitalization and even death as well as reduce the spread of influenza. Antiviral drugs are a second line of defense against flu.
CDC’s seasonal flu vaccination campaign materials are available to assist partners in communicating about the importance of vaccination, and includes a digital toolkit with web-ready resources and social media. Our free resources section hosts a variety of materials, including podcasts and PSAs, videos, infographics, and print materials.