Let’s Talk About The Flu
November 1, 2019
Article by: Karen Wolf, Infection Control Nurse
The dreaded flu season is upon us once again. Hopefully the following information will be helpful to anyone that might have questions regarding FLU or the FLU VACCINATION.
WHO SHOULD GET VACCINATED THIS SEASON? Everyone six months of age and older should get a flu vaccine every season. (rare exceptions)
WHEN SHOULD I GET VACCINATED? You should get a flu vaccine before flu viruses begin spreading in your community – CDC recommends by the end of October, however, vaccinations are offered throughout the flu season. It takes about two weeks after vaccination for protective antibodies to develop in the body and is thought to last for at least six months.
DO I NEED A SPECIFIC TYPE OF FLU VACCINATION? There are flu shots approved for use in children as well as approved for use in adults 65 or older. CDC does not recommend one flu vaccine over another. Talk to your healthcare provider about which vaccine is right for you.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF THE FLU VACCINATION? The flu vaccination can reduce flu illnesses, doctors’ visits, and missed work/school due to flu, as well as prevent flu-related hospitalizations. Vaccination is particularly important for people who are at high risk of serious complications from influenza.
Some people are often deterred from going to get a flu shot because of misinformation they hear from other people. The most common MYTHS are:
MYTH: You can catch the flu from the vaccine. The flu shot is INACTIVATED and cannot transmit infection. So people who get sick after receiving a flu shot were going to get sick anyway.
MYTH: Healthy people don’t need to be vaccinated. Even healthy folks can benefit from being vaccinated.
MYTH: You can catch flu from going out in cold weather. The only way to catch the flu is by being exposed to the flu virus. Flu season coincides with cold weather, so people often associate flu with cold environment but they are not related.
MYTH: Feed a cold, starve a fever. If you have the flu and a fever, you NEED more fluids. There is no reason to increase or decrease how much you eat, starving yourself will not help and poor nutrition will not help you get better.
Also, please remember that antibiotics work well against bacteria, but they are not effective for a viral infection like the flu. It is true, though, that some people can develop a bacterial infection as a COMPLICATION of the flu, so if you have the flu and your symptoms worsen it is a good idea to get checked out by your healthcare provider.
This flu season, please take the necessary steps to stay healthy. Stop by our walk-in clinic or hospital clinic to get your flu shot and protect yourself from the flu this year!