Preventing the flu, and when and where to get a flu shot
It wasn’t your imagination. Last year’s flu season was rough for all of us, with the CDC declaring it a high-severity H3N2-predominant season. In fact, last year’s flu was the most severe since the CDC began a new tracking system in 2003.
If there’s a silver lining to this, it’s raising flu awareness. And fortunately, there are ways to prevent the flu.
The best way to prevent the flu is to get a flu shot. Flu vaccination can reduce illness, doctor’s visits, and missed work and school due to flu, as well as prevent flu-related hospitalizations.
Here’s what to know about the flu vaccine:
- The CDC recommends the vaccination by the end of October. If you’re a little late to the game, getting vaccinated is still important. Vaccination is offered throughout flu season, which generally lasts from October through March.
- Flu shots are recommended for everyone older than six months, including pregnant women and people with chronic health conditions. Talk to your doctor if you have an egg allergy, have ever had GBS, or if you are not feeling well after your vaccination.
- There are many different flu viruses. Your vaccine will protect against the viruses that research predicts to be most common. Protection begins about two weeks after your flu shot, when antibodies have developed.
Where to get your flu shot:
Flu vaccines are offered at many locations including doctor’s offices, clinics, pharmacies, and even by many employers.
If you don’t have time to make a doctor’s appointment, check with your medical facility to see if they offer a walk-in flu clinic. If not, check your locals drug stores and pharmacies.
What if you’re experiencing flu symptoms?
If you are experiencing flu symptoms, in most cases, you should stay home and avoid contact with other people except to get medical care. If you are at high risk of flu complications, or are very sick or concerned about your illness, contact your health care provider right away.
Did you know? If you’re signed up for Mercy Health MyChart, you can request care through an Evisit, which gives you quick, convenient access to primary care providers who can diagnose non-urgent medical conditions via an online appointment.
Additionally, Mercy Health Physicians has extended evening and weekend hours during flu season. Call your provider or 866-99NOFLU for details.
For more about the flu, learn natural ways to boost your immune system, how to know if it’s the flu, a cold or pneumonia, and what to know about Tamiflu.