Influenza (flu) is a contagious illness that hits our area every year, generally between October and May. People who have the flu are often bedridden for days and experience a variety of symptoms, some of the most common being high fever, cough and fatigue. Some sufferers develop pneumonia, a lung infection, which can require hospitalization. It is estimated that between 5% and 20% of the US population is infected each year, and thousands die from the flu and resulting complications.
Anyone can get the flu, but getting it can be especially dangerous for young children, older adults, pregnant women and those with certain health conditions, including diabetes, heart and lung disorders, immune system deficiencies or kidney problems. The flu vaccine is especially important for these people and those around them.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends the flu vaccine for all people over the age of 6 months. All pregnant women should be vaccinated at some point during their pregnancy. Since it is spread mainly through coughing, sneezing and close contact, practicing good hygiene can help to protect you. Nevertheless, the best to way to prevent the spread of the flu is by getting vaccinated.
Flu viruses change every year. The flu shot is a dead version of the most likely 3 or 4 flu viruses expected to afflict our area. The nasal spray flu vaccine is a live virus. The vaccine takes about two weeks to become effective and its protection can last up to one year.
Call your IMA office or one of our Walk-In Centers to get your protection today.