It’s that time of year again. The fall and winter weather gives us the dreaded cold and flu season. It is possible to catch these year-round, but this is the peak time for the symptoms to start getting people to race for home remedies and over-the-counter medicine. Although most colds will have you in bed for a few days, thousands of people still die from the flu. So this is still the best time to get protected with a flu shot.
If you need protection from the flu, Dr. Rogers Walker and Walker Urgent & Family Care offer flu vaccinations among many other medical services.
Why is the flu so dangerous?
Since many of the symptoms of colds and flu are quite similar, people tend to see the flu as just a mildly stronger virus. Both are highly infectious, affect the respiratory system, and can cause things like coughing, sneezing, sore throat, and fatigue. The flu also normally comes with chills, fever, aches, and headaches, and it starts pretty quickly. Worse, if the flu is bad enough, it can lead to other complications like pneumonia, bronchitis, ear infections, and heart problems. It doesn’t happen to everyone (children under 5 and adults over 65 are most prone to complications), but it’s all the more reason to get a flu shot.
How do flu shots help?
An annual flu shot during this season can help against different strains of the flu virus by creating antibodies to fight against the strains in the vaccine. The flu shot you get in your arm comes in a number of different types, to target different needs, including:
- High-dose vaccine - has four times the normal dose for older people.
- Adjuvanted vaccine - has an additive that boosts the immune system for older people.
- Quadrivalent vaccine - protects against four different strains of the flu virus.
Most US flu shots protect against strains using the quadrivalent vaccine. They use vaccines for strains researchers expect to be common that season. Though not 100% effective against all strains, it fights the flu better than most other methods.
Who should get flu shots?
Everyone from 6 months and older should be getting flu shots to fight the virus this season. This is especially true for children, people over 65, people with weak immune systems and people with chronic illnesses. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) thinks it’s usually best to get the shot before everyone starts getting the flu as it generally takes up to two weeks for the antibodies to develop and go to work defending against the flu. So, the earlier, the better, but even late in the season, people are encouraged to get flu shots. Every little bit helps.
So if you still haven’t gotten your flu shots, make an appointment with Dr. Walker and Walker Urgent & Family Care to protect yourself from the flu today.