The flu is a contagious respiratory illness with symptoms that typically have an abrupt onset and often include fever, chills, headache, fatigue, body aches, cough, sore throat and a runny or stuffy nose. It can travel six feet as airborne particles and can live for 24 hours on hard surfaces. Healthy adults can infect other people up to seven days after becoming sick.
Most people with the flu do not require medical care but some people are at a higher risk of developing serious flu-related complications. This includes people 65 years and older, children younger than 5 years of age, people with certain chronic medical conditions, such as chronic lung disease or diabetes and pregnant women.
In a time where everyone is concerned with staying safe, what better way to be proactive about your health than getting a flu vaccination?
While the flu vaccine cannot prevent COVID-19, it can protect you from complications if you do become infected with coronavirus. Even though it’s a different virus, the flu vaccine will still be a key factor in keeping you healthy.
Here are Five Things You Need to Know About the Influenza Vaccination
- Influenza is severe and unpredictable. Vaccination reduces the risk of influenza complications.
- People living with diabetes are three times more likely to be hospitalized with influenza.
- If you are 65 years or older, you are six times more likely to have a heart attack the week after being diagnosed with influenza.
- 126,000+ adults 65 years and older are hospitalized with flu related illness each year.
- 90 percent of flu related deaths occur in people 65 years or older.
The vaccine takes six months to create and it is made each year to try and match the circulating global virus. Starting treatment early on can alleviate some symptoms and shorten the length of the illness. This can also prevent it from leading to more serious complications including pneumonia, bacterial infections and hospitalizations. This year it is more important than ever to take control of your health.
What can I do at home to help prevent catching the flu?
- Be sure to drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration.
- Eat a well-balanced diet with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables.
- Get at least eight-10 hours of sleep to enhance immune function and manage stress.
- Avoid touching your nose, eyes and mouth when they are not freshly washed, as those are the most common places for germs to get in.
- Practice good hygiene by washing your hands frequently with soap and warm water.
- Stay active throughout the day. Taking the stairs, spending less time sitting down or taking stroll through the park are simple ways to stay active.
- Keep your surroundings clean and sanitized.
- If you feel you might be getting sick, stay home to prevent spreading any germs.
- Schedule your annual comprehensive wellness exam. This is a great time and place to talk with your medical provider about the flu shot and other vaccinations you should be aware of.
- Quit smoking as it damages your respiratory tract and increases the risk of infections.
Be sure to consult with your healthcare provider within 48 hours if you or someone you know are experiencing symptoms. If you have pre-existing health issues, be sure to talk with your doctor before taking any over-the-counter flu medications.
Preserve your health, protect our community and ease the burden on healthcare providers by scheduling your flu shot today. For more information and to ensure you are receiving the care you deserve visit P3NV.org or call us at 702-333-4700.