The truth is that influenza is no laughing matter. It is much more than a cold, and even a “bad cold.” It can result in serious health complications like pneumonia, bacterial infections, and possibly hospitalization.
In recognition of National Influenza Vaccination Week, we want to highlight the importance of the flu vaccine and why you should get it if you haven’t done so already. It’s in your best interest to be vaccinated throughout the holiday season and beyond, as flu viruses are by now spreading and causing illness. That’s why we continue to keep our Community Care flu clinics open throughout the entirety of flu season in order to protect as many people as possible.
During the 2017-2018 flu season, the flu vaccine prevented an estimated 7.1 million influenza illnesses and 3.7 million influenza-associated medical visits! If that’s not enough to convince you, there are many other reasons why you should get your flu vaccine every year, such as:
- Greatly decreases your chances of getting sick with the flu and, if you do end up with the flu, it can lessen the severity and length of the symptoms
- Reduces the risk of flu-associated hospitalization for children, working age adults, and other adults
- Helps you prevent serious medical events associated with some chronic conditions
- Helps protect women during and after pregnancy
- Can be lifesaving in children and older adults
Not many people get vaccinated after November ends, but flu activity is predicted to increase during the holiday season with the increase of people traveling and visiting loved ones. It takes about two weeks after you receive the vaccination for the antibodies that provide protection against the influenza virus to develop in your body.
If you get vaccinated, it can also protect the people around you, including those who are unable to be vaccinated or are more vulnerable to serious flu illness, like babies and young children, older people, and people with certain chronic health conditions.
Remember, it’s not too late to get vaccinated! If you want to get your flu shot, be sure to do it as soon as you can. Community Care is happy to make it easy for you by offering a number of flu clinics throughout the Capital Region.
In addition to the flu vaccine, we recommend taking precautionary measures to keep you and your family feeling healthy during flu season and every day after. Here are some helpful tips on staying healthy:
- Avoid close contact with people
- If you're sick, limit contact with others as much as possible
- If you're sick, stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze
- Wash your hands often with soap and water
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
- Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated
Every flu season is different, and influenza can affect people differently. But millions of people get the flu every year, hundreds of thousands of people are hospitalized, and thousands to tens of thousands of people die from flu-related causes every year. Why take the risk? Getting your annual flu vaccine is the best way to protect yourself against the flu.
Don’t let the flu give you the holiday blues! Call your Community Care office today to schedule a visit specifically for the flu vaccine or check out our upcoming Flu Clinics. Please note that many of our practices require you to be an established patient in order for them to give you the flu vaccine. Please call the office for more information.