It’s Not Too Late to Get the Flu Shot

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January 29, 2018

It’s Not Too Late to Get the Flu Shot

If you’re wondering whether it’s too late to get a flu shot, answer this simple question: Are you more than 6 months old?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends everyone past that tender age get an annual flu vaccination. And while the organization recommends getting vaccinated by the end of October, it’s not too late.

“Getting the flu shot later—even into January and beyond—can still be beneficial,” says Dr. Hilit Hassidim, an internal medicine physician with Pedicino Primary Care Associates, a Holy Redeemer practice.

The vaccine is especially important for people at high risk, those who live with them, and those who care for them. In particular, those who care for children younger than 6 months of age should get the vaccine. “Infants have a high risk for serious flu, but they’re too young to get the vaccine,” says Dr. Hassidim. “Everyone should get a flu shot. It is more important for people who have chronic medical conditions since the flu can cause serious complications that could lead to hospitalization and sometimes, even death.”

Chronic conditions include asthma, COPD, heart disease, diabetes, chronic renal and liver disorders and obesity.

It’s important for pregnant women to get vaccinated as well—they are more prone to catching the flu. When pregnant women get the flu vaccine, their own risk of developing influenza decreases. “But that’s not all,” says Sr. Hassidim. “The women’s babies also receive important protection immediately after birth, when they’re most vulnerable.”

Depending on which vaccine you receive, a flu shot will protect you against three or four viruses. For the 2017-2018 flu season, the CDC recommends the inactivated influenza vaccine and the recombinant influenza vaccine. The nasal spray flu vaccine should not be used.

“Why get complication when you can prevent it with vaccination?” says Dr. Hassidim.

Avoid Passing the Flu

The seasonal flu spreads from person to person through coughing or sneezing. To avoid passing the flu:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Cough or sneeze into a tissue, then throw the tissue away.
  • Don’t touch your eyes, nose, or mouth after washing your hands.
  • Try to stay away from sick people.
  • See your doctor quickly if you get the flu. Antiviral drugs treat the flu, but they work best within two days of getting sick.

If You Get the Flu:

  • Stay home and rest until your fever has been gone for at least 24 hours.
  • Drink lots of fluids.
  • Take over-the-counter medications to relieve fever, aches, pains, congestion, and coughing.

If you have a fever over 102 degrees, persistent vomiting, or very swollen glands in your neck or jaw, it’s time to see a doctor. You should also call your doctor if any of these flu symptoms last more than 10 days or get worse instead of better: fever, sore throat, headache, chills, cough, body aches, fatigue, and diarrhea.

To learn more tips on health and wellness, check out our blog's wellness section. Learn more about Dr. Hassidim here.

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