Flu Vaccine InfoSep 29, 2020 09:43AM ● By Chuck Tashjian
Now, more than ever, it is important for you and all of your family members (6 months and older) to get the flu vaccine. A new flu vaccine is developed each year that protects against the flu viruses that research indicates will be most common during the upcoming season. It is our best defense against a potentially serious illness.
The staff at Milford Regional Medical Center and Milford Regional Physician Group are getting vaccinated to protect our home team, which includes our staff and all of you! Join us as we work together to keep our entire community healthy.
The flu vaccine will be available soon at most doctor’s offices, health clinics, pharmacies and college health centers. It takes about two weeks for the vaccine to become effective, so the best time to get it is in the early fall before the flu season begins.
Here are some important facts about the flu that may answer some of your questions.
Flu Vaccines Help Stop Contagion
Flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat, and sometimes the lungs. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death.
You may be able to spread flu to someone else before you know you are sick, as well as while you are sick. Some otherwise healthy adults may be able to infect others beginning 1 day before symptoms develop and up to 5 to 7 days after becoming sick. Some people, especially young children and people with weakened immune systems, might be able to infect others for an even longer time.
The best way to prevent spreading the flu is by getting a flu vaccine each year.
The Flu Season
Flu season can begin as early as October and last as late as May. To protect yourself and others, it’s best to get the vaccine as soon as it becomes available each fall. The flu shot becomes effective about 2 weeks after you get it.
High Risk Individuals and Flu Complications
Getting vaccinated protects not only you but the people around you, including those who are more vulnerable to serious flu illness, like babies and young children, older people, and people with certain chronic health conditions. These individuals are more likely to get flu complications that can result in hospitalization and sometimes death.
High Risk Groups: Adults 65 years and older, Pregnant Women, Young Children (6 months to 5 years – and especially those younger than 2), those with Asthma, Heart Disease and Stroke, Diabetes, HIV/AIDS, Cancer, and children with neurologic conditions. Here are additional details on high risk groups.
Benefits of Flu Vaccine
The CDC calculates the benefits of flu vaccination each year. The figures for 2019-20 have not yet been released; however, vaccination during the 2018-19 flu season was shown to prevent 4.4 million cases of flu, 58,000 hospitalizations and 3,500 deaths.
Flu and COVID-19- A Bad Combination
Influenza and COVID-19 have similar symptoms, meaning that people who think they have COVID-19 but really have the flu could clog up the health-care system this winter. Patients will need to be tested for both influenza and COVID-19. The tests use some of the same equipment, placing a strain on supplies.
Minimizing the infection and spread of the flu is critical to avoid further strain to our health system and potentially overwhelm healthcare workers and hospital capacity.
Prevent the Flu
The best way to prevent catching the flu is getting the flu vaccine. In addition, the CDC recommends:
• Stay away from people who are sick
• Cough or sneeze into a tissue and throw it out, or cough or sneeze into you elbow to prevent spreading germs
• Frequent, thorough handwashing