Blog 10/3/2017

Weekly Clinical Service Dose: Your Best Shot is the Flu Shot

With fall approaching, it is a sure bet that cold and flu season will soon follow bringing the risk of flu illness. Some people will only be mildly sick or miserable for a few days, but for some, flu can be very serious and may even result in hospitalization or death. Some people are at higher risk of serious flu illness.

What is the best way to protect yourself and your loved ones from flu?

Get a flu shot!

Flu viruses infect the nose, throat, and lungs and can cause a wide range of complications:

  • Sinus and ear infections are examples of moderate complications from flu.
  • Pneumonia is a serious flu complication that can result from either flu virus infection alone or from co-infection of flu virus and bacteria.
  • Serious complications triggered by flu can include inflammation of the heart (myocarditis), brain (encephalitis) or muscle (myositis, rhabdomyolysis), and multi-organ failure (for example, respiratory and kidney failure).

The Flu vaccination can help keep you from getting sick from flu. Protecting yourself from flu also protects the people around you who are more vulnerable to serious flu illness.

People at increased risk of flu complications include:

  • Children younger than 5, but especially younger than 2 years old
  • People 65 and older
  • People with asthma, heart disease, chronic lung disease, and neurological and neurodevelopmental conditions
  • People with blood, kidney, liver, endocrine, and metabolic disorders, including diabetes mellitus
  • People who have a weakened immune system due to disease or medication;
  • Pregnant women and women up to two weeks postpartum
  • Residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities

CDC recommends everyone 6 months and older get a flu vaccine each year. While the flu vaccine can vary in how well it works, it is the best tool modern medicine currently has to prevent infection with influenza viruses.

Get a flu shot!

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