Two years ago I skipped the shot. I suppose I was busy and it never made it off my to-do list. My husband and daughter got sick, went to the doctor, swabbed positive for influenza, and started Tamiflu. I waited. By the time I started to feel sick, it was the weekend and too late to get to my doctor.
Last year and this year, I’ve made a point to get my flu shot ahead of the worst of flu season. The nurse practitioner who gave me my shot this week says Influenza B is already making the rounds.
This year, getting my shot was personal. My husband lost his cousin to influenza early this year. We were all so shocked because the cousin was a healthy young man. He’s left behind a lovely wife and two sweet little boys. Before, the statistics for flu deaths had always been abstract, but now they numbers have a name and a face.
Here are some facts that might help you this flu season:
What is the “flu” anyway?
The flu is a respiratory infection caused by a virus. It can develop very quickly and with flu, you always have a fever. Other common symptoms include headache, sore throat, dry cough, stuffy or runny nose, and muscle aches.
How Serious is it?
Certain people are at greater risk for complications with the flu, including seniors, young children, pregnant women, and those with certain health conditions like asthma and diabetes. A misdiagnosed flu can lead to complications, so if you are unsure if it’s a cold or the flu, see your doctor or MinuteClinic practitioner.
I get my flu shot, not just for me, but for all the people who can’t get one. I hope cutting down the spread of disease will give them a protective barrier. I’d hate to be the one who passes on flu to someone medically fragile. You can have the flu and be infectious for a day before you even realize you are sick. Think about all the places you go in a single day and who you could be making sick.
I had a quick and easy visit to a MinuteClinic in Massachusetts while I was on vacation. There were a few people ahead of me, but since they were all getting shots too, I waited only long enough to do some quick shopping.
The nurse asked my about my health and allergies. One of my allergies means I get special treatment. They have different vaccines for different patients. Adults over 65 get a stronger shot, for one thing. Tell your health care provider about any medical conditions, medicines, and even supplements you are taking.
This year, when we are so concerned about an infectious disease that has killed one person in America so far, let’s think about preventing the spread of a disease that typically kills tens of thousands of people in the US every year. It’s active already and is so easy to get this shot.
Want to learn more facts about the flu? Go to
www.cdc.gov/flu and MinuteClinic’s vaccination offerings at: http://bit.ly/ZQZVDn