Influenza, more commonly called the flu, is often perceived as a harmless illness. Most people who get sick with flu will have mild illness, will not need medical care or antiviral drugs and will recover in less than two weeks. Some people, however, are more likely to get flu complications that can result in hospitalization and sometimes death. All age groups can be affected but there are groups that are more at risk than others: pregnant women, children under 59 months, the elderly, individuals with chronic medical conditions (such as chronic cardiac, pulmonary, renal, metabolic, neurodevelopmental, liver or hematologic diseases) and individuals with immunosuppressive conditions (such as HIV/AIDS, receiving chemotherapy or steroids, or malignancy).
The most effective way to prevent the disease is vaccination. Safe and effective vaccines are available and have been used for more than 60 years. Annual vaccination is recommended to protect against influenza. 2 Influenza vaccination can prevent about half of the disease, severe illness and death from influenza in an average year.
In Israel each year 20% -30% of children and 5% -10% of adults in the general population suffer from the disease.
The vaccine is recommended for all citizens of Israel aged 6 months or older. It is recommended to vaccinate against the flu since the beginning of October and is highly recommended not later than the end of November, but it is recommended to vaccinate even after that date.
It is recommended to get vaccinated every year as the disease changes and every year a new virus appears, slightly different from the previous year.
The single best way to prevent seasonal flu is to get vaccinated each year, but good health habits often can help stop the spread of germs and prevent respiratory illnesses like the flu: