Reposted: Nov 15 2016
Why is it So Bad?
The New York Times reports that we had an early, and aggressive start to the year’s standard flu (H3N2), a new evil stomach bug, and the worst outbreak of whooping cough in 60 years.
What Should You Do?
Vaccination is the best way to protect yourself against the flu. Everyone 6 months old and older should get vaccinated against the flu, especially those who are at high risk of flu complications like: young children, pregnant women, people who are 65+, and those with chronic health conditions (asthma, diabetes, heart disease, lung disease and cancer).
Vaccination also is important for people who work with the public such as teachers and healthcare workers.
Children under 6 months old are at high risk of serious flu complications, but are not old enough to be vaccinated, therefore people who care for them should be vaccinated instead.
There are 2 types of vaccines available:
- The flu shot: approved for people ages 6 months and older.
- The nasal spray, FluMist: approved anyone ages 2 to 49 who is healthy and not pregnant.
Its not too late – Though it is best to get the vaccine in the fall (before the season starts) its not too late to get now. There is a limited supply still available. Call around to your local pharmacies and clinics to find out who is still offering the shot. You may be put on a waiting list as some clinics are awaiting new shipments.
Some questions and answers about flu vaccines:
Q: Can’t they just make more when they run out?
A: No. Flu vaccine is complicated to create, and is made months in advance.
Q: Does the vaccine really work?
A: Flu strains constantly evolve, and so are usually only 60% effective. But 60% is well worth the effort, especially for those who are susceptible to complications from getting the flu. PLUS it has been found that even if a person does still get sick after getting a flu shot, the symptoms are usually shorter-lived and a lot less severe.
Keep in mind that the vaccine takes about two weeks to develop the antibodies in the body needed to provide protection against the flu.
Contrary to popular myth: YOU CANNOT GET THE FLU FROM THE FLU SHOT
Though it is common to get muscle aches or sometimes a mild fever after your flu shot, you cant catch the flu from it because the injectable vaccine does not carry the LIVE virus.
BEFORE YOU PAY FOR YOUR SHOT: check with your doctor, employer, and insurance company. Many companies offer free flu shots to their employees, and some cities health departments are offering free shots. Many insurance providers also cover the costs of the shot. To find your nearest flu shot provider go to: HealthMap Vaccine Finder
If not for yourself, do it for your loved ones – While you may think that you are healthy enough to skip out on the shot, remember that not getting the vaccine means that you can spread it to those who are at risk of complications like the elderly and babies.