While the days are still warm, daylight is growing shorter and temperatures cooler. Soon, the holiday season will be upon us, sooner than we are prepared for it.
Same with the flu season. The first cases of the flu can seen as early as October, and influenza activity typically peaks between December and February – just in time for Halloween through Valentine’s Day and all the holidays in between.
Many of us look forward to spending the holidays celebrating with loved ones, so it’s imperative to take the precautions necessary to protect yourself and others around you from getting sick. Take control, and don’t let the flu dull your holiday cheer!
What is the Flu?
Influenza, or the flu, is an extremely contagious respiratory illness that can be passed from person to person through coughing, sneezing, and even talking. The virus lingers on surfaces, and regardless of how careful you are it’s not hard to catch. Symptoms include coughing, fever, extreme fatigue, sore throat, muscle aches and pains, and a runny or stuffy nose. For those who have had the flu before know how miserable it can be. Taking precautions is extremely important, because the flu can be unpredictable and quite dangerous, especially for young children, the elderly, and those with chronic disease or an impaired immune system.
Step 1: Get Your Flu Vaccination
The severity of each flu season cannot be predicted. The single best way to prevent the flu is to have an annual flu vaccination – flu season usually occurs in the winter, but outbreaks can happen as early as October and as late as May. The CDC recommends that children 6 months and older get the flu shot. It’s also highly recommended that people over 65 years of age and anyone with a chronic health condition to get the vaccination. Getting your vaccination before October is always a smart move as it takes about two weeks to build flu immunity following the vaccine. However, if the flu is circulating in your community, then it’s never too late to vaccinate!
The flu shot is not the only vaccination available. The typical three-strain shot, or the stronger option of the four-strain shot are great options, but there are also vaccinations for the needle-squeamish. The nasal spray can be used on healthy individuals ages 2-49. There is also a new device that can deliver the vaccine through your skin without injection called the jet injector–this is not recommended for children or seniors.
If you’re wondering if the flu shot is effective, the answer is YES. According to the <a href="http://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/qa/vaccineeffect natural slimming pills.htm” onclick=”_gaq.push([‘_trackEvent’, ‘outbound-article’, ‘http://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/qa/vaccineeffect.htm’, ‘CDC’]);” >CDC not only does the the flu shot prevent you and the people around you from getting the flu, but it can make your illness more mild if you are infected, and it can reduce more serious risks like hospitalization caused by the flu. A study showed that the flu vaccine reduced children’s risk of flu-related pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) admission by 74% during flu seasons from 2010-2012. Another study showed that flu vaccination was associated with a 71% reduction in flu-related hospitalizations among adults and a 77% reduction among adults 50 years and older during the 2011-2012 flu season.
Other Preventative Actions to Fight the Flu
Vaccinations are not the only way you can avoid getting sick this season. Take every day precautions like washing your hands regularly (scrubbing thoroughly for 20 seconds with soap and water), covering your cough, practicing the “shoulder sneeze,” routinely disinfecting surfaces in your home or work area, and staying away from sick people. But most importantly, protect those around you by making sure you stay home from work or school if you do come down with the flu.
Avoid the Flu by Visiting a Michigan Urgent Care Location Near You Today
Help yourself and your community fight the flu this holiday season! Flu vaccines are now available at all Michigan Urgent Care and Occupational Health clinics for adults and children ages 4 years and older for only $25–no appointment necessary. Find a clinic at a location near you: http://michiganurgentcare.com.
Businesses can also request onsite flu shot clinics by calling the Michigan Urgent Care and Occupational Health corporate office at 734-237-5311.
We wish you all a joyous season full of healthy holiday cheer!