Flu vaccine is your best protection
By Sandy Stevens, MD, Medical Director of InterMed Urgent Care
Ready or not, winter is coming, and with it, the seasonal flu.
The flu is a respiratory illness that causes mild to severe illness. Symptoms may include:
- Fever or chills
- Sore throat
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Body aches
- Vomiting and diarrhea (more common in children than adults)
Flu vaccination can keep you from getting sick with flu
The Centers for Disease Control recommends that everyone age 6 months and older receive an annual vaccine.
In seasons when the vaccine viruses matched circulating strains, flu vaccine has been shown to reduce the risk of having to go to the doctor with flu by 40 percent to 60 percent.
In addition, several studies have shown the flu vaccine reduces the severity of illness in people who receive a vaccine but still get sick.
According to the CDC, the vaccine offers multiple benefits:
- Flu vaccination can reduce your risk of flu-associated hospitalization.
- Flu vaccination helps prevent serious medical events associated with some chronic conditions.
- Vaccination helps protect women during and after pregnancy.
- Flu vaccine can be life-saving in children.
Getting vaccinated yourself may also protect people around you, including those who are more vulnerable to serious flu illness, like babies and young children, older people, and people with certain chronic health conditions.
Other ways to keep the flu at bay:
- Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water. No soap and water? Use an alcohol-based hand rub.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. This can spread germs that you may have picked up on your hands.
- Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs. At home, this includes countertops, refrigerator and oven handles, and doorknobs.