Flu Shots Save Lives

September 13, 2016

Each year there are nearly 50 million Americans who contract the influenza, more than 100,000 people are hospitalized and nearly 36,000 people die from the virus. Influenza, commonly known as the flu, is a virus that can pass through the air and on contaminated surfaces, which enter the body through the nose or mouth. Flu season typically lasts from November to March, but early immunization is encouraged.  In order to help build antibodies against the current strain it’s important to get your flu shot as soon as the vaccine becomes available each year.

Texas MedClinic now has this years’ flu shot available on a walk-in basis, as well as on-site flu shots for local businesses.

The best way to prevent the flu is by getting vaccinated and hand washing remains the second best defense. Given the evolving nature of the flu strain, it is recommend that people get  vaccinated every year, even if the viruses in the vaccine are the same as the year before. Since immunity to flu viruses decline over time, a reoccurring strain may be too low to provide protection after a year.

The Center for Disease Control recommends taking three steps to prevent the flu, a virus they refer to as a serious contagious disease that can lead to hospitalization and even death. These steps are referred to as “Take 3” actions and include the following:

-Take time to get a flu vaccine
-Take everyday preventive actions to stop the spread of germs
-Take flu antiviral drugs if your doctor prescribes them

The benefits of flu vaccines are numerous, and healthy, vaccinated individuals benefit the community. Those who are vaccinated fight the spread of the flu and can participate in daily life without missing work or becoming absent from their commitments. The highly contagious flu virus spreads very quickly, even before symptoms occur, and once symptoms are present, the virus is contagious five to seven days after.

The flu affects everyone differently and can be life threatening to the very young, the elderly and those with compromised immune systems. Vaccinations are recommended for all people over the age of 6 months old.

Pregnant women, children younger than 5, those 50 years of age and older, people with certain chronic medical conditions as well as people who live with or care for those at high risk (health care workers, educators and home caregivers) need to be vaccinated to avoid dangerous complications.

Here’s a few facts about the flu:

The flu usually lasts a week or less
-The flu vaccine cannot give you influenza.
-Antibiotics don’t work on viruses, so they won’t help someone with the flu get better.
-The stomach flu and influenza are not the same thing.  “Stomach Flu” is a popular term for stomach or intestinal disease, whereas the flu is a respiratory (lung) disease.
-The CDC recommends that people get vaccinated for the flu as soon as a vaccine becomes available.
-Flu viruses change every year based on the worldwide Monitoring of influenza, requiring a new flu vaccine every year.
Children are two to three times more likely than adults to get sick with the flu
-The flu vaccine protects against the three most common flu viruses every year.
-The flu is typically spread through coughing and sneezing.

Simply put, flu shots save lives. Protecting yourself and your family is important and convenient. Please, make time for a quick flu shot this month, they are available all over town and on a walk in basis at many clinics and pharmacies. And, of course, we’d be happy to serve you at one of Texas MedClinic’s locations around town too.

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