Nearly 20% of Americans contract the flu every year, and they miss an average of three workdays as a result. Prepare for flu season by getting your flu shot early!
Flu season arrives in late September and can extend through May. Approximately one in five people in the U.S. will become infected with the influenza virus. The influenza virus passes through physical contact with a contagious person, so avoid infected people as much as possible and take the right precautions with your own health.
Prepare for Flu Season
There are some additional precautions you can take, beyond minimizing contact, to prepare for flu season:
- Maintain a healthy immune system by eating well, getting adequate sleep, exercising, and drinking plenty of fluids.
- Wash your hands with warm soap and water after shaking someone’s hand or touching potentially contaminated surfaces.
- Refrain from touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Wipe down contaminated surfaces with disinfectant wipes.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue to cough or sneeze.
- Stay home from work or school if you are exhibiting flu-like symptoms, such as a fever. The CDC recommends staying home for at least 24 hours after your fever has gone (without the assistance of fever-reducing remedies).
These strategies help minimize the spread of flu symptoms, but flu vaccinations are the best form of protection. Contact your local pharmacy about scheduling a flu vaccination appointment.
Flu vaccines protect against the strain of influenza virus that medical researchers predict will be most common each year. For the 2015-2016 flu season, both trivalent and quadrivalent vaccines will be made available to the public.
Trivalent vaccines protect against three influenza viruses: an influenza A (H1N1) virus, an influenza A (H3N2) virus, and an influenza B virus—the three most likely influenza strains to appear.
Quadrivalent vaccines protect against an additional B virus. Quadrivalent vaccines are recommended for individuals most likely to succumb to the flu. This includes the elderly, school-age children, and those with weakened immune systems.
Who Needs Flu Shots?
As of 2010, the CDC recommended that the flu shot be a universal vaccination to help prevent the spread of the virus. Everyone aged six months and older is advised to get a flu shot. People younger than six months of age should not be vaccinated unless prescribed by a doctor.
Pregnant women, elderly individuals over the age of 65, small children, and people with chronic conditions such as asthma or heart disease should always be vaccinated because of their increased risk for having a weakened immune system.
Individuals with weakened immune systems have a higher risk of developing serious complications from contracting the flu. Those infected with the AIDS virus should take special precautions and get their flu shot every year.
Because the influenza vaccine incubates in eggs and contains a small amount of egg protein, if you are allergic to eggs, it is recommended that you do not get a flu shot. Anaphylactic shock can be fatal. Talk to a pharmacist at a compounding pharmacy about hypoallergenic options for flu vaccinations.
Smith-Caldwell Drug Store offers egg-free, hypoallergenic flu vaccinations. Be sure to mention your allergy in the “comments” section when you make your appointment.
Flu Shot Side Effects
The viruses in flu vaccinations are inactive, which means that you cannot catch the flu from them. However, you may experience minor side effects from the vaccine. These side effects only last for a day or so, and include:
- Soreness in the area where the shot was administered
- Low-grade fever
Demand for flu shots is usually high, so be sure to get yours before your local pharmacies put you on a waitlist!
Prepare for flu season and contact Smith-Caldwell Drug Store at 501-392-5470 to schedule your family’s flu vaccinations!