If you thought flu season was over, think again. Health officials say flu season is just getting started.
Between 2018 and 2019, there have been 78 flu and pneumonia related deaths in the state. New Mexico is among several states reporting “high levels” of flu activity, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s latest influenza surveillance report.
This could mean many of you may be calling your doctor or going online to schedule a flu shot with a pharmacy. But did you know that on top of the influenza vaccine, there’s a whole slew of vaccines being offered?
While there continues to be controversy surrounding vaccines after a measles outbreak in Washington, Dr. Melissa Martinez at the University of New Mexico says it’s better to be proactive and get the vaccinations needed to protect yourself and others.
“People are choosing not to use it and we are seeing that now with outbreaks of measles, which everyone thinks is a little childhood disease. But people can die from measles. It can cause chronic deafness. It can cause birth defects. It’s not a disease to be taken lightly. I understand that you want to make sure vaccines are safe and it’s scary but so is getting the disease,” said Dr. Martinez.
According to the New Mexico Department of Health’s report in 2017, nearly half of the adults in New Mexico are choosing to forego getting a flu shot. The Department of Health says there are also a little more than 4,300 children under the age of 19 with vaccine exemptions.
While some are opting to skip the shot, Dr. Martinez says there are a number of shots, including the flu vaccine, you and your family should be getting. She says children and adolescents should get the chicken pox, mumps and measles, polio, and influenza vaccines.
For somebody between the ages of 19 and 50, who is all caught up on their vaccinations and does not have any special health conditions, Dr. Martinez says the only vaccinations you should get are the annual flu shot, tetanus, and diphtheria.
Once you hit 50 years of age, you’ll also need a shingles vaccine. As you get older, getting those shots, plus vaccinations for pneumococcal pneumonia are suggested.
Dr. Martinez says if you’re not sure what vaccines you need to speak to your doctor or there is a page on the CDC’s website called “CDC Vaccines” in which you can take a quiz to tell you which ones you need.