- by Medical Group of Pennsylvania
Fall is a beautiful time of year, especially here in Pennsylvania. But the changing leaves also signify another symptom of the season — colds and the flu.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has determined that getting a flu shot every year is the best way to protect yourself and your family from getting the flu. Read on to learn more about the flu and the influenza vaccine.
The Flu is Dangerous
Most people who suffer from influenza are down and out for a few days and then slowly recover. But for the young, elderly or people with a weak immune system, the flu is a potentially very dangerous disease. Millions of people get the flu every year, hundreds of thousands of people are hospitalized, and thousands or tens of thousands of people die from flu-related causes every year.
It is possible to still catch the flu after receiving the flu shot, but studies have shown that symptoms are typically less severe with fewer hospitalizations and recovery is faster.
Healthy Adults Need the Vaccine (Every Year!)
While you may not worry about becoming severely ill, it’s important to vaccinate to keep young and elderly family members protected. Quarantining yourself after you feel sick isn’t enough. The flu can spread before symptoms begin to appear. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends everyone 6 months of age and older should get a flu vaccine every season. This includes pregnant women, who get the added benefit of passing along the immunity to their child who will be too young to get the vaccine themselves.
Unfortunately, the flu shot isn’t a one-and-done scenario. It’s important to get a flu shot every year for two reasons; over time, your boosted immunity slowly lowers, and each year the vaccine is comprised of strains scientists expect to be most prevalent.
Schedule Your Appointment Soon
It takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies that protect against flu to develop in the body. Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that you get a flu vaccine by the end of October to keep you protected all flu-season long.
In Case of Illness, Stay Home
It’s hard to admit we need to stay home, rest and recover, but it’s critical to avoid spreading sickness and increasing recovery time. Healthline recommends getting plenty of rest, drinking lots of fluids, and waiting for your symptoms to subside. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also recommends staying home for 24 hours after a fever and other flu-like symptoms (chills, sweating, flushed skin) have cleared up.