It’s that time of year again
Flu season is here, but it's not too late to get vaccinated. Influenza (flu) is a serious disease caused by a virus and it can make you feel miserable! Fever, cough, shaking chills, body aches, and extreme weakness are common symptoms. You can catch the flu from people who cough, sneeze, or even just talk around you. It is very contagious.
Flu is dangerous
Tragically, each year, infants, children, teens, and adults die from the flu. The virus is very unpredictable so no one knows how deadly it will be each year. Even if you have a mild case of the flu, you can still pass it on to your friends, family, and coworkers who could get very sick or even die. Anyone can become seriously sick from the flu, but it is most dangerous for people with health conditions like heart and lung disease, young children, and pregnant women. People 65 years and older are especially at risk of developing serious complications, like pneumonia, from the flu.
How can you protect yourself and your loved ones?
You can take 3 Steps to Fight the Flu:
- Get a flu vaccine. Everyone 6 months and older should get a flu vaccine by the end of October. Getting a flu shot every year provides the best protection against flu. The flu shot works by activating your body’s natural immune system. The shot includes inactivated (dead) flu virus – so it can’t make you sick. Your immune system responds to the dead virus in the shot and makes antibodies to destroy it. It is best to get your flu shot early, before flu season starts, because it takes about 2 weeks for your body to develop antibodies to protect you from the flu. After that, your body remembers how it destroyed the dead virus in the vaccine and your immune system can quickly stop living flu virus you are exposed to before they can make you sick.
- Take everyday actions to stop the spread of germs. Try to avoid close contact with sick people, and if you become sick, limit your contact with others. Cover your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze, and wash your hands often. These same steps can also help slow the spread of COVID-19 and other illnesses.
- Take flu antiviral drugs if your doctor prescribes them. If you get sick with flu, prescription flu antiviral drugs can be used to treat flu illness. Antiviral drugs can make illness milder and shorten the time you are sick. They may also prevent serious flu complications.
Where can you get your flu shot?
Influenza vaccine is now available for this flu season. Visit your healthcare provider or a local pharmacy to get your flu shot. Flu vaccination is also available through flu clinics. See below for information about upcoming flu clinics available to the community:
You can also visit https://www.vaccines.gov/ to find locations offering flu shots (and COVID vaccines).