Get your flu shot: Here is why
By Jonie Brown, R.N., CCM
Legacy Medical Group–Woodburn
For many people, the flu shot is an annual ritual of winter. Others, though, are unsure what to do.
The truth: The flu vaccine is the most effective way to avoid getting the flu, an illness that strikes about 5% to 20% of Americans a year, causing an average of 200,00 hospitalizations nationwide. A flu shot can also save your life –– the flu can have severe complications to the heart or lungs and results in tens of thousands of deaths a year in the U.S.
Also, the flu shot is made from dead viruses and cannot give you the flu. The vaccine can, however, trigger an immune response, leaving some people with mild symptoms.
What is the flu?
The flu (influenza) is a virus that causes fever, cough, sore throat, runny nose, aches and tiredness. Children may also have vomiting and diarrhea.
The severity of the illness depends on the type of flu and the person’s health. The flu can be worse in those 2 years and younger, those 65 or older or those with ongoing medical conditions.
How does it spread?
People who have the flu may cough into their hand or blow their noses, contaminating their hands with the virus. They then touch doorknobs, keyboards, pens or such items that then spread the virus to others.
The flu can be contagious at least one day before you start having symptoms and up to seven days after the flu symptoms have started.
Also, many people can carry the flu virus without having any signs or even knowing that they have the flu.
How can I avoid catching the flu?
Get vaccinated, protect those around you
Wash your hands –– often
Use hand sanitizer
If you are around a person sick with the flu, wipe down any shared doorknobs, devices or surfaces
Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth unless you have washed your hands after being in public or around sick family or friends
If you are at high risk for complications, call your doctor as soon as you feel symptoms. Your doctor may give you medicine choose to reduce the illness.
To get your flu shot, schedule online with Legacy–GoHealth Urgent Care. Free through most insurance plans; $25 without insurance.
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