Earlier this week, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) announced that cases of the seasonal flu have reached epidemic levels in the U.S. If you haven’t yet had your flu shot, now’s the time. You can even get a flu shot if you’ve already had the flu this year because the vaccine covers new strains that are starting to show up.
A flu shot is the best way to avoid the flu and prevent the complications associated with it. The vaccine has also been shown to make the flu milder in people who do get sick and reduce their risk of hospitalization.
Why get a flu shot? People who have cancer or have had cancer in the past are at higher risk for complications from the seasonal flu or influenza. You’re also at greater risk if you’re age 65 or older. Your risks are highest if:
Complications of flu can be range from moderate problems, like sinus and ear infections, to serious conditions like pneumonia. Other possible serious complications include inflammation of the heart, brain or muscle tissues and multi-organ failure (for example, respiratory and kidney failure). Flu virus infection of the respiratory tract can trigger an extreme inflammatory response in the body, leading to sepsis, the body’s life-threatening response to infection.
Symptoms of influenza include:
Call your doctor immediately if you have symptoms of the flu or if you’ve been within six feet of someone who has the flu. Your doctor may prescribe antiviral drugs, prescription medicines (pills, liquid or an inhaled powder) that stop flu viruses from reproducing in your body. If you get sick, antiviral drugs can make your illness milder and make you feel better faster. They may also prevent serious flu complications.
Stay home as much as possible to protect yourself and others. Avoid public activities, including work, school, travel, shopping, social events and public gatherings.
Remain at home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone (without the use of fever-reducing medications) except to get medical care or other necessities. If you need to go to the doctor’s office or other health care facility, cover your mouth and nose with a facemask, if available, or cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing.
If you’re a patient of The Ghosh Center, contact us for a flu shot. We still have the regular vaccine.
You can also use this handy tool to locate a flu vaccine clinic near you. Simply enter your zip code or city and state to find mapped locations of clinics in your area.