The flu season generally extends from October through May, with most cases making their mark between December and early March. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the 2017-2018 influenza season was a high-severity flu season, with high levels of both outpatient clinic visits and emergency room visits due to influenza-like illnesses.
The CDC credits the flu vaccine – the gold standard for flu prevention – with preventing an estimated 5.3 million illnesses and 2.6 million medical visits.
If possible, try every year to get your flu vaccine around mid-October. However, it’s never too late to get a flu shot.
Let’s talk about why it’s so important – and how it may even save your life.
Do I Need a Flu Shot?
The Mayo Clinic notes that influenza is around all the time, not just during flu season – so it’s never too late to get vaccinated. The flu vaccine is an excellent preventive measure when combined with practicing good hygiene and handwashing. The vaccine can even help you fend off other illnesses, or to experience milder symptoms than you otherwise would have had.
The CDC recommends that people get vaccinated for the flu every year starting at 6 months of age. Children are particularly vulnerable because their bodies have not yet developed a strong immune system to fight off diseases like the flu.
How Bad Is the Influenza Virus?
Hundreds of thousands of people across America are hospitalized for influenza every year. The flu is indeed a highly contagious respiratory illness derived from a virus, and it can be deadly – especially for those with compromised immune systems or those who have a susceptibility to the strain of virus that’s going around.
It spreads via something as simple as a handshake, or from just sitting next to an infected person who sneezes. This bug delivers a host of harrowing symptoms including cold sweats, fatigue, aching joints and limbs, vomiting, and fever.
Whether you’re living in the urban jungle or out in the country or suburbs, you have most likely noticed local pharmacies and physicians advertising flu shots – with some of them offering the vaccine at no cost to you. Getting vaccinated before flu season is ideal, because it allows the body to build a tolerance to the virus and develop beneficial antibodies.
“I Never Get the Flu…”
Even if you never seem to succumb to the flu, it’s not a good idea to play the waiting game. It’s so easy to get vaccinated, and you could avoid many days of feeling terrible later.
Many people think they’ve dodged a bullet come March if they haven’t yet contracted the flu virus, but Influenza B often shows up later in the season. So even when it’s February, if you haven’t received a flu shot yet, it’s smart to go ahead and get vaccinated.
Vaccines are available in nasal spray and injection form, although the shot is considered better protection. In addition to reducing your chances of complications with the influenza virus, getting a vaccine also reduces the severity and duration of the flu if you do contract it.
Where Can I Get a Flu Shot?
One factor making it easier than ever to get a flu shot is the convenience of urgent care centers. With easy online check-in and walk-in availability 365 days a year, clinics like Patient Care Now Urgent Care are redefining medical care.
Owned and operated by board-certified emergency medical providers, our practice prides itself on offering compassionate treatment and expert care. Along with a host of offerings from blood work to X-rays, we also offer quick and easy flu vaccines for both children and adults in the comfort of our office.
For more information, call us today at (267) 202-6433. You can fill out our easy online check-in form here to save time filling out paperwork once you arrive. We look forward to serving you – and keeping you healthy