Although flu season typical starts in October, it can begin in September and extend until May. Flu prevention is the best way to avoid this disease that can render an otherwise healthy person bedridden for weeks with fever, joint pain and congestion.
How to Prevent Flu?
How to prevent flu? Obtaining flu shots in September or October would be the ideal time. It takes a few weeks for the flu antibodies to form and become effective. However, getting flu shots as late as January would still be beneficial. The flu shot prevents the strains of flu expected during each season but will not protect patients from other illnesses.
Other ways to prevent flu and other illnesses include hand washing. This is the single most important prevention measure. Washing hands after being out in public should be the first thing anyone should do when returning home. If out, wash hands thoroughly before dining. Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth before washing hands as this is how the flu and other respiratory illnesses enter the respiratory system.
Patients can still get colds and sore throats that are not the flu. The flu is a much more serious illness and thousands of people die each year due to flu and flu related complications. The very young and very old are most susceptible. Children over six months of age and all adults should get the vaccination.
Should I Get a Flu Shot?
There are certain populations that should not get vaccinated against flu. Those include people who’ve have a negative reaction to flu shot previously, have certain allergies or have depressed immune systems. These patients should discuss with their doctors how best to prevent the flu.
Health risks related to the flu vaccine are minimal. Most common is a sore arm where the shot was given. Others may have a mild fever for a day or two. Dizziness or fainting are rare side effects so often a patient is asked to remain in the office for several minutes after the vaccination is administered.
Most insurance companies fully pay for the flu vaccination. Contact our office for an appointment and more information.