FLU SZN IS HERE
Summer is over, kids are back in school, football has returned, and it’s almost flu season again. It’s time to start thinking about protecting you and your family against influenza with the flu shot.
What’s the big deal? It’s just the flu.
Influenza is a virus, not a bacteria like a sinus infection or strep throat. Although a lot of people ask for antibiotics when they think they might have the flu, much like the common cold, antibiotics do not work against the flu. The flu is highly contagious and can be deadly. Last year alone the flu killed about 80,000 people in the United States which is more people than died last year due to the opioid epidemic and more Americans that we lost during the whole Vietnam war. The flu deserves some serious consideration!
When should I get my flu shot?
Flu season begins in October and becomes particularly intense December through February. Most people don’t realize that it can last all the way through May. The vaccine takes two full weeks to become effective, which is why doctors recommend that anyone 6 months or older should receive their flu shot before the end of October.
I got the flu shot one year and still got sick with the flu. Does it even work?
There are lots of misconceptions about influenza vaccinations because influenza is not your typical virus. Not only are there many different types of flu, but it also constantly adapts and changes. This adaptability makes it very difficult to make a perfect vaccine every year. Each year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) must predict which versions of the flu are going to cause the most harm in the upcoming flu season. This can be challenging because the CDC only has a few months to make this prediction before vaccine production begins. Therefore, the flu vaccine never perfectly matches the specific strains of the flu virus in any given year. It’s just not possible and probably never will be. But it will always be effective to some degree and thus very worth it to get!
What if I already have the flu?
Because influenza is a virus, it cannot be cured like a bacterial infection. However, there are six different approved medications which, if started early (within 48 hours of the onset of symptoms), can drastically reduce the intensity of the virus. The sooner the medications are started, the better. In its early stages, influenza often shares many of the same symptoms as other viruses. So, as soon as you start getting flu-like symptoms, come by and get a flu test. We will get you started on the right medication.
How do I get my flu shot?
The flu vaccine is widely available, cheap, easy to administer, reasonably effective from year to year, and has minimal side effects. Although patients sometimes have mild flu-like symptoms or local swelling or redness near the injection site, it much less severe than getting full-blown influenza. Furthermore, if you are exposed to influenza after you’re vaccinated, you are far less likely to catch it. Even if you do catch it, it won’t last as long and it won’t be nearly as intense which means fewer days off school or work and fewer hospitalizations. Plus you reduce the risk of spreading it to others.
Does DoctorWellington have flu shots?
Here at DoctorWellington, we understand influenza, how it affects you, how to treat it and how to prevent it. With 16 clinics all over Alabama open extended hours seven days a week, all you have to do is drop by! The flu shot is ready and free to DoctorWellington subscribers. No appointment is necessary.
We take the worry out of flu season for you and your family.