Our shorter days, cool nights, and rainy afternoons can only mean one thing—fall has arrived! And with it, we are already beginning to see the first indications of influenza (flu) season. By getting a flu vaccine for yourself and for the members of your family, you can help prevent flu-related illnesses this fall and winter.
What is influenza?
The influenza, or flu, is a contagious respiratory disease. This means that it causes congestion and inflammation of the lungs, nose, and throat. Fever, body aches, and nausea are also common symptoms of the flu.
A severe case of flu can lead to serious complications, such as pneumonia or bronchitis. This can require extensive treatment, lots of time taken from work or school, and may even require hospitalization.
Everyone can catch the flu. Even healthy people can become very ill from the flu virus and experience serious complications. But even if you’re a lucky one who bounces back quickly from a bout with the flu, your family and friends might not be so lucky.
People that are at higher risk for severe cases or complications from the flu are children and adults over age 65. Those with current or ongoing health conditions, such as asthma, diabetes, heart or lung disease, or autoimmune disorders are at a higher risk as well.
Who should get a flu vaccine?
Flu viruses are constantly changing, so there are new flu viruses every season. Flu vaccines are made to protect against the most common strains of flu that are in your region. This is why it is important to get a flu vaccine every season, but especially during the fall and winter months.
Everyone 6 months and older should get a flu vaccine. It is especially important for the following individuals to be vaccinated;
People with medical conditions that place them at high risk
Children younger than 5 years
People 65 years and older
People who live with or care for others at high risk of flu complications (caregivers, mothers with small children, or those providing care to the sick or elderly)
Health care personnel (doctors, nurses, etc)
Are flu vaccines safe?
The flu immunization is safe. It has been successfully used for more than 50 years. It is also closely inspected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as the Food and Drug Administration. Thousands of flu immunizations are given to people across the United States every year.
A common myth that people believe about the flu vaccine is that it can give you the flu. That’s simply not the case. While there are sometimes side effects from the flu shot, such as a low fever or achiness, especially around the site of the shot, these side effects are rare. Some people also report a runny nose, sore throat, or a big of congestion. These are side effects, but not the flu strain. The side effects usually wear off within a day or two.
Why are vaccines so important?
Immunizations for the flu are designed to protect you from catching the most common flu strains. Not only are they providing protection for you, but also for those that you come into contact with regularly. By having our community routinely get flu vaccines at their local clinic or community health center, we can help to prevent the seasonal flu epidemic. This will also lower the number of serious complications and deaths that result from the flu each year.
Our Goal at Community Health Center of Snohomish County
Keeping our families and communities safe and healthy is the goal of every parent and all of our staff here at Community Health Center of Snohomish County. Getting a flu vaccine is the best way that we can all work together to protect ourselves from this disease. This is why we offer flu immunizations for everyone in the community.
If you would like to schedule an appointment or learn more about our staff here at your community health center, click here.