Getting your annual influenza shots is the best way to protect yourself from getting the flu. Roughly one in every five Americans get the flu every year. Keep your vaccination current to stay healthy and to avoid passing the flu on to others.
Influenza is highly contagious and can be a serious or, in some cases, deadly. Between 1976 and 2007, the average number of flu-associated deaths in the U.S. was between 3,000-49,000 people. Flu season can last for almost six months, from October all the way into May. Influenza viruses are respiratory, and people who have influenza can pass it on to others by coughing, sneezing, or talking. You can also contract the flu by touching a surface where the virus is present, then touching your mouth, eyes, or nose. Good hygiene is especially important during flu season. Don’t forget to wash your hands!
If you’re in a high-risk group, or if you’re regularly around someone who is, you should be even more proactive about keeping your vaccination up to date. Everyone over the age of six months should get the flu vaccine. Children under five are at the highest risk, especially if they’re younger than two years old, as well as pregnant women and anyone suffering from a chronic health condition. Seniors are especially vulnerable, accounting for around 90 percent of all flu-related deaths each season.
Flu prevention is easy. Vaccinations are readily available and easily administered nasally or via a flu shot. Influenza strains are constantly changing, so vaccines need to be updated annually to remain effective. There are several preventive vaccines available for the current flu season. If you have been exposed to someone with the flu but you haven’t been vaccinated, there are FDA-approved antiviral medications available. These drugs have a 70-90 percent effective rate. The sooner you are treated, the better your chances are of avoiding infection.
Getting vaccinated every year is a wise choice to stay out in front of the virus. To avoid catching the flu this year, stick with these precautions and visit FastMed Urgent Care to get your vaccination as soon as possible