With the end of summer, the new season kicks in – the flu season. Even if it isn’t quite cold outside just yet, it’s a good time to start preparing yourself for the flu season ahead, and the best way to do that is with the flu shot. Although last flu season was considered quite mild thanks to warmer temperatures, there is no guarantee that this year will follow suit. Taking preventative measures is still important for reducing the risk and keeping your family healthy.
Cindy Weston, an assistant professor at Texas A&M University, explained, “Every year, people die from influenza. After sizable outbreaks, people will respond with large amounts of vaccinations, but they should be getting vaccinated every year to protect those most vulnerable, mainly children and the elderly.”
The CDC recommends the flu shot for persons over the age of six months – including pregnant women.
Some people are unable to receive the flu shot due to their allergies, and that is why it’s so important that everyone else stay up-to-date with their vaccinations in order to reduce the risk of passing on the flu to these people.
Some people avoid the shot because they believe it will give them the flu. This is not true. Other people avoid it due to fear of needles, but flu protection also comes in a nasal spray form. Lastly, many believe if they were vaccinated last year they are safe for this year – again, this is not true as the flu strains vary each year.
Weston added, “Flu season typically lasts from fall to spring. The outbreak may peak at various times during those seasons, but people should be vaccinated before they return home for the holidays to prevent an outbreak.”
Other tips aside from the flu shot is practicing good hygiene (for example, frequently washing your hands) and taking care of your health, which includes eating well.
Symptoms of the flu include sudden high fever, body aches, headache, fatigue, sore throat, cough, congestion, and runny nose.
If you do develop the flu, ensure you avoid others to reduce the risk of passing it on and take time off work or school.