Think Flu Shots Now

As this is being written, the “feels like” temperature is 101 – not really weather for thinking about flu shots, right? Well, now is the perfect time to be arranging to get your influenza vaccine. It takes about two weeks for the vaccine to be fully effective, and flu generally starts appearing sometime in October.

In the United States, nearly half of all flu cases and 85 percent of flu-related deaths occur in adults 65 and older. Even if you recover from flu, it’s a very unpleasant experience that could put you at risk of complications.

During the fever, weakness and muscle aches the flu brings, you may be at higher risk of falling. If you have a chronic condition like heart disease, COPD, asthma, diabetes, kidney disease or obesity, you are much more likely to develop complications from flu.

The vaccine is not guaranteed to keep you from getting flu, but if you do get it, you are much less likely to have a severe case, need to be hospitalized, or suffer complications. You can increase your chances of escaping flu by washing your hands frequently with soap and water or using hand sanitizer that is alcohol-based; keeping your hands away from your mouth, eyes and nose; avoiding crowds when flu is widespread; and practicing good health habits like getting enough sleep, exercising regularly, eating a healthy diet, and managing stress.

Flu shots are available from your health care provider and at many local pharmacies. Medicare beneficiaries pay nothing to receive a flu shot. Your worst reaction to a flu shot may be slight soreness at the injection site or perhaps a day of feeling slightly feverish and achy as your body produces the antibodies that will protect you from flu.

That’s a small price to pay to avoid two weeks or more of misery!

The News-Gazette

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