Take One For Your Health

Have You Gotten Your Flu Shot?

Beginning this time of year, you start to see this message often: Get your flu shot and get it now! Ads, public service announcements, commercials and other messages are all over the Internet, television and just about every other medium. Why is this message so widespread? Because it’s sound, practical and logical medical advice. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a yearly seasonal flu vaccine is the best way to reduce the risk of getting the flu and spreading it to others. When more people are vaccinated against the flu, less flu can spread through the community. Learn the facts about the flu vaccine.

The Facts

  • Influenza virus is NOT the same as “a cold.” Influenza is a much more serious infection, which occasionally may lead to more serious illness or death.
  • You CAN’T catch the flu from getting a flu shot.
  • It’s recommended that most everyone, excluding infants less than 6 months old, should get the vaccine. Talk with your doctor if you have concerns about the influenza vaccine.
  • Although you rarely get sick, you may still transmit the virus to others. Getting the shot not only protects you, but helps protect others who may not be able to fight it off as well as you can.
  • Side effects of the vaccination are rare and generally mild.
  • Egg allergy is NO LONGER a contraindication to any form of the influenza vaccine. People with history of anaphylaxis or severe reaction to eggs can still receive the vaccine, but should receive it in a doctor’s office so they can be monitored for reaction.
  • It doesn’t matter if you’ve never had the flu vaccine. You should get it every year, starting now.
  • Children, the elderly and people with chronic medical conditions are at the greatest risk for severe infections with the flu.

For Adults

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that anyone over the age of 6 months receive a flu vaccine. Certain age groups or those with medical conditions may want to make early efforts to schedule their flu shot with their physician. Adults who are age 50 and older, women who are expecting to be pregnant during influenza season, health care personnel, caregivers of children younger than age 5, nursing home residents or chronic care facilities, and those who have chronic pulmonary, cardiovascular, renal, hepatic, neurologic, metalogic or metabolic disorders should receive a yearly flu vaccine. Today, older adults receive a high-dose vaccine now for better prevention. Listen to one of our urgent care physicians discuss different strains of the flu.

For Children

According to the CDC, there were 172 pediatric deaths from influenza in the 2017-2018 flu season. While the flu vaccine can vary in how well it works each season, the CDC published a study in American Academy of Pediatrics that showed how the flu vaccination can be lifesaving for children. The study examined data from 2010 to 2014 and reported that the vaccine had reduced the risk of flu-associated death by over 50 percent among children with high-risk factors and 65 percent for healthy children. Dr. Kristen Lagor says, “While the vaccine doesn’t always prevent a runny nose or a mild case of the flu, there’s good data to show that kids are less likely to die from the flu if they’re vaccinated.” Children 2 and under now get regular dose vaccine, as opposed to previously half dose. Those children who have never received the vaccine before will need 2 doses at least one month apart.

Flu shots are a safe and effective way to combat a serious infection that could lead to hospitalization and even death. Throw out the excuses, concerns and skepticism, and heed the advice. The new vaccine will be available soon so call your primary care office to schedule an appointment for your flu shot. 

Already have the flu? Can’t get in to see your primary care physician? BayCare has a variety of options that help you find the right care at the right time, at the right place and at the right cost.