Flu Season is rapidly approaching. Make sure you can separate the facts from fiction in regard to getting your influenza vaccination this year.
Influenza (or the "Flu") is a virus that is found in the deepest parts of the nose. Symptoms of influenza include fevers, chills, sore throat, cough, runny nose, headaches, body aches, and fatigue. Influenza is spread from respiratory droplets from the mouth and nose. While a small amount of people can have nausea, vomiting and diarrhea; these symptoms are more likely related to other illnesses, not influenza. Symptoms appear 5-7 days after exposure to the influenza virus. Influenza can be spread 1-2 days before symptoms appear. Diagnosis of influenza requires a test performed at your local medical office. Like all viruses, antibiotics are ineffective against influenza. There are antiviral medications available to treat influenza, but must be prescribed by a medical provider. Using proper hand hygiene and receiving your influenza vaccination is the best method of preventing the spread of influenza to yourself and others.
It is important to get vaccinated to protect not only yourself, but also those who are not able to receive the vaccine. Children under the age of 6 months and those who have medical issues that do not allow for them to get the influenza vaccination are at serious risk of developing medical complications from influenza. These complications can range from ear and sinus infections to more serious complications such as pneumonia and even death.
The influenza vaccine helps save millions of dollars in medical expenses each year. Nearly 3 days of work are lost for every influenza illness. Influenza vaccinations prevented nearly 2 million influenza related illnesses in 2015. Influenza vaccinations also prevented nearly 1 million medical visits and over 67,000 hospitalizations in 2015.
The Influenza vaccine is safe. It is impossible to contract influenza from the influenza vaccine injection or "Flu Shot." Like all vaccinations, you can have a 2-3 day period time with slight cold-like symptoms after receiving your Flu Shot. The likelihood of getting these cold-like symptoms after getting a Flu Shot is similar to placebo or getting an injection of the "sugar pill."
The influenza vaccine is effective. Each year, the Centers for Disease Control publishes data on the previous year's vaccine effectiveness. Last year, the influenza vaccine injection, or Flu Shot, was 63%. While some may see 63% as a low percentage, getting vaccinated is one of the best methods to prevent contracting or spreading influenza. Last year's intranasal influenza vaccine or "Flu Mist" was found to be less effective at 3%. While the providers at Tecumseh Family Health and Adams Primary care recommend the Flu Shot, Flu Mist will still be available, should you choose that method for yourself or your children.
Remember, any level of vaccine protection is better than not having any vaccination at all. Protect yourself, your loved ones and those within our community that may not be able to protect themselves by getting your influenza vaccination when they become available. Influenza vaccines will be available to the general public at Tecumseh Family Health and Adams Primary Care starting on October 1st. No appointment is needed for you to receive you influenza vaccination. For those patients that may be seen as high risk due to medical conditions, contact your medical provider to see if you need your influenza vaccination sooner than October 1st.