Stay Healthy. Get Your Flu Shot.

HealthLink: News You Can Use

November 19, 2019

Stay Healthy. Get Your Flu Shot.

Flu season is coming, now is the time to get your flu vaccine. More severe than the common cold, flu symptoms can include a sore throat, fever, headache, muscle aches and soreness, congestion, and cough which can come on quickly and keep you away from your everyday activities. For most people the flu lasts for one to two weeks, but for vulnerable populations, people with chronic conditions or reduced immune systems having the flu can be very serious.

The flu vaccine prevents millions of illnesses and flu-related doctor’s visits each year. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends everyone over 6 months of age should get an annual flu vaccination by the end of October, but getting a flu shot later can still be beneficial.

“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.” said Subbarao Gorti, MD, a family medicine physician with Holy Redeemer Family Medicine. “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. “Infants have a high risk for serious flu, but they’re too young to get the vaccine,” says Dr. Gorti. “When pregnant women get the flu vaccine, their own risk of developing influenza decreases and their babies continue to have protection from the virus after birth, when they’re most vulnerable.”

Prevention:

The best way to prevent seasonal flu is to get vaccinated each year, but good health habits can help stop the spread of germs and prevent respiratory illnesses like 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

See your doctor:

People at high risk of flu complications, young children, adults 65 years of age and older, pregnant women, and people with certain medical conditions, should contact their doctor as soon as they begin to have flu symptoms. For others, you should see you doctor if your flu symptoms are not improving with over-the-counter treatments or if you have the following:

  • Fever over 102 degrees
  • Persistent vomiting
  • Very swollen glands in your neck or jaw
  • If flu symptoms (fever, sore throat, headache, chills, cough, body aches, fatigue, and diarrhea) last more than 10 days or get worse instead of better

If you have not scheduled your flu shot yet, contact your primary care physician. If you have received your flu shot from another location, let your primary care team know to add it to your medical records. If you need a primary care physician referral contact the Redeemer Health Information line at 1-800-818-4747

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