Flu season is upon us. Running from October to May, most cases hit late December to early March. The best way to protect yourself against the flu is a flu shot, and the ideal time to get yours is during the early fall. But don’t worry, it’s not too late to protect yourself against this year’s flu strains.
It takes two weeks for the flu shot to give you full strength immunity, but it does start protecting right away. The CDC recommends that everyone over 6 months old get a flu shot every year unless other medical issues preclude you from getting a shot. Have you gotten yours? Here’s why you should.
Why get a flu shot?
The flu is more than just a cold. It comes on suddenly, and the symptoms are often severe. Common symptoms include fever, aching muscles, chills, headache, sore throat, and nasal congestion.
According to the CDC, the flu sent 960,000 people to the hospital last year and was the cause of about 79,000 deaths. Some people are more susceptible to flu complications, which can include pneumonia, heart problems, and bronchitis than others. Young children, pregnant women, those with immune system disorders, and seniors are at a higher risk for severe flu symptoms and complications.
Even if you don’t fall into one of the high-risk categories, you should still protect those around you by getting a flu shot since it’s highly contagious. Although the flu shot is not a guarantee that you won’t develop the flu, those who get the shot tend to have less severe flu symptoms and get over it quicker than those who never got a shot.
Who should and shouldn’t get a flu shot?
As stated above, the CDC says that everyone over 6 months of age should get the shot. However, if you’ve had an adverse reaction in the past to a flu vaccine or you have certain medical conditions or allergies, the flu vaccine may not be safe for you.
Speak to the medical professionals at Walker Family Care located in Little River, South Carolina, to find out if the flu vaccine is right for you. Rogers Walker, MD or Angela Cooper, PA-C, can help determine if a different type of flu vaccine may work better for your unique situation.
What are other ways can I protect myself from the flu?
In addition to getting a flu shot annually, there are other lifestyle practices you should adopt during the flu season. These practices include:
- Wash your hands often with water and soap
- Use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
- Get the recommended amount of sleep
- Eat a healthy diet
- Stay hydrated
If you and your family haven’t gotten a flu shot, call Walker Family Care to make an appointment. You can also make an appointment online or visit Walker Family Care as a walk-in.