Flu season is about to start. Are you ready? Millions of Americans get the flu every year, and for many, it’s a bout of sickness for a week or two and then it’s over. Others aren’t so lucky. Hundreds of thousands are hospitalized, and thousands die.
Just some of the complications from the flu include bacterial pneumonia, ear infections, sinus infections, and worsening of chronic medical conditions, such as congestive heart failure, asthma, or diabetes.
Why take a chance unnecessarily? Plus, if you have a family, you want to protect your loved ones. Getting your flu shot early is the most effective way to protect yourself as well as vulnerable family members, including seniors, infants, and those who have compromised immune systems.
Our medical staff at Macomb Medical Clinic explain why it’s important to get vaccinated and the benefits of doing it early in the season.
Timing is important
Flu season begins in the fall and lingers through the winter months. You need to get your flu shot right away because it takes at least two weeks for your immune system to develop antibodies that protect you against the virus.
This lack of immediate protection makes it that much more important not to wait until you start to feel sick, or the virus starts circulating in your area. Extend that protection to your entire family by getting everyone 6 months and older vaccinated. The CDC urges people to get the vaccine by the end of October.
You need a flu vaccine every year
Some vaccines you only need once, such as those for measles or mumps. The flu virus, however, constantly changes, leading to the development of different strains each year.
Researchers update the vaccine annually to protect you against strains that scientists believe will be most prevalent that year. Also, your immune protection from the flu vaccine declines over time, so it’s important to get your shot each year.
Flu vaccine updates and options for seniors
All flu vaccines in the United States are “quadrivalent” vaccines, which means they protect against four different flu viruses: an influenza A(H1N1) virus, an influenza A(H3N2) virus, and two influenza B viruses. The vaccines in the US this season will contain an updated influenza A(H1N1) component.
Three flu vaccines are preferentially recommended for those age 65 or older over standard-dose flu vaccines. These are the Fluzone® high-dose quadrivalent vaccine, Flublok® quadrivalent recombinant flu vaccine, and Fluad® quadrivalent adjuvanted flu vaccine.
Your Macomb Medical Clinic physician lets you know which vaccine is right for you.
The flu vaccine is your first line of defense against serious illness from the virus, but you can take commonsense precautions as well. These include:
- Washing your hands often
- Staying home if you’re sick
- Wearing a mask in crowded settings
- Covering coughs and sneezes
- Not touching your face
Call Macomb Medical Clinic to make an appointment for your annual flu shot today and for all of your family’s health care needs.