Let's talk about the Flu!
December 5-11 is National Influenza Vaccination Week and it's time to talk about the flu and why it is so important to get your flu shot!
The holiday season is upon us once again, and you know what that means...it's flu season! In the United States the Influenza virus typically begins to circulate in the fall and peak from December to February. The flu is incredibly unpredictable, and currently the Southeastern part of the United States is experiencing a very active season.
Signs and Symptoms of the Flu
An important thing to know about the flu is that symptoms come on suddenly, and while it is typically mild in most individuals, it can be serious and lead to hospitalization. The common symptoms of the flu are:
Muscle and Body aches
Complications of the Flu
Typically when an individual gets the flu the recovery period is between 1-2 weeks, but having the flu can lead to mild and even severe complications. It is important to know that the flu can make chronic health conditions like asthma worse. According to the World Health Organization there are an estimated 290,000- 650,000 flu-related deaths globally each year.
Who is at risk?
Even if you are considered "healthy" you can develop the flu. Those at higher risk for developing complications from the flu are those who have chronic conditions like heart disease, asthma, and diabetes. Children under the age of 5 are particularly at risk for developing complications from the flu due to their under developed immune system.
How can you prevent the Flu?
First of all, there is no way to 100% prevent the Flu, but the best way to minimize the effects of the virus is by getting your flu shot. According to the Mayo Clinic, this year's flu vaccine provides protection against four strains of the influenza virus. It is important to get the vaccine annually, because the flu is a quick changing virus, so last year's vaccine may not fully protect you from this year's flu. he CDC recommends annual influenza vaccinations for everyone age 6 months or older. If you are considered high risk for flu-based complications it is extremely important that you get your flu shot annually. In addition to receiving the flu vaccine you can lower the risk for yourself and others getting the flu by:
- Washing your hands regularly
- Avoiding excessively touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
- Avoiding close contact with those who are sick
- Covering your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze
Where can you get the Flu Vaccine?
You can schedule an appointment with your primary care provider to schedule you or your children's flu vaccine.
For more resources about the 2022- 2023 Flu Season visit the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's website.