For some, catching the flu means missing a week of work, watching a ton of Netflix, and drinking a lot of soup. For other people, catching the flu means a hospital stay and the possibility of not going home.
Influenza is a serious disease. It can lead to hospitalization and sometimes even death. It’s a respiratory infection that can cause serious complications. Some of these include viral or bacterial pneumonia, dehydration, asthma flare-ups, heart problems, ear infections, and sinus infections. The flu can also worsen long-term medical conditions, like congestive heart failure, asthma, or diabetes. Pneumonia is the most serious complication. For older adults and people with a chronic illness, pneumonia can be deadly.
Every year, millions of people get the flu, and hundreds of thousands are hospitalized. An annual seasonal flu vaccine is the best way to reduce your risk of getting sick with seasonal flu. It’s also the best way to prevent spreading it to others.
It’s important to receive the flu vaccine every year because the flu virus evolves quickly. New flu vaccines are released to keep up with the rapidly adapting virus. Because flu viruses evolve so quickly, last year’s vaccine won’t protect you from this year’s virus. The CDC recommends annual influenza vaccinations to everyone age 6 months and older. Vaccination is especially important for people who are at high risk of influenza complications. These include:
- Pregnant women
- Older adults
- Young children
Chronic medical conditions can also increase your risk of influenza complications. Examples include:
- Cancer or cancer treatment
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
- Cystic fibrosis
- Kidney or liver disease
We all want our families and communities to be happy and healthy. When more people get vaccinated against the flu, the less the flu spreads through that community. This protects young infants, immunocompromised people like cancer patients, and older people who are more likely to suffer serious life threatening complications with the flu.
Flu season officially starts in October, but the CDC recommends getting the flu shot as soon as possible. It takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body and provide protection against the flu. Children between the ages of 6 months and 8 years may need two doses of the flu vaccine given at least four weeks apart to be fully protected.
If you have more questions about the flu vaccination or would like to schedule a vaccination call us at (662) 348-3342 today.