A FLU-FREE SEASON!
Clients wanting a FREE FLU SHOT can call 570-387-4258 and ask the PA Department of Health secretary to please schedule them. They can also call our Community Health Nurse, Terri Kane, RN, directly to be added to the schedule at 570-317-0749
DO I NEED A FLU SHOT?
Flu experts recommend everyone six months and older should get vaccinated every year because the flu is contagious and can cause serious respiratory infection. Flu season is typically between October and May. Vaccination is especially important for people at high risk for developing flu complications, such as adults age 65 and older, pregnant women, people with chronic medical conditions, and children younger than age five.
DO FLU SHOTS WORK?
A common fear is that you can get the flu from the vaccine. THIS IS NOT TRUE! Each year, the flu vaccine is made from components of the flu virus that CANNOT transmit infection. After the shot, it can take 2-4 weeks for the antibodies that protect against infection with influenza virus to develop in the body. Those who get sick soon after a flu shot either were already infected with the flu, or got it during that period.
Unlike vaccines that offer 100 percent protection, such as ones for measles and polio, the flu vaccine is only about 60 to 90 % effective. This is because there are multiple strains of the flu virus every year, which makes it difficult for scientists to predict which strains will be most common. It is possible to become infected with a different strain after a flu shot, but the vaccine will still be somewhat effective, and your symptoms will be less severe.
WHY IS A FLU SHOT IMPORTANT?
“The flu results in thousands of hospitalizations and deaths each year, and last year’s severe season was a reminder of just how serious influenza can be,” said Susan Rehm, M.D., an infectious disease specialist at Cleveland Clinic. “By getting vaccinated, you are not only protecting yourself, but those around you.”
The 2017-2018 flu season was one of the longest and most deadly in recent years, lasting 19 weeks. According to the CDC, about 30,500 people were hospitalized for confirmed influenza and it accounted for the deaths of 180 children.
IS GETTING A FLU SHOT ENOUGH?
In addition to getting the flu vaccine, you can take flu-prevention measures all season long, such as limiting contact with sick people, and washing your hands frequently to reduce the spread of germs. If you are sick with flu, stay home from work or school to prevent spreading flu to others.
There are prescription ANTIVIRAL medications that can be used to treat influenza illness. Antibiotics work well against bacteria, but they are NOT EFFECTIVE in treating viral infections like the flu. However, bacterial infections can develop as a complication of the flu virus. If your flu symptoms seem to linger or worsen, see your doctor.