Flu shot season has arrived! As the leaves begin to turn and October brings exciting festivities, it’s also the start of a dreaded flu season. Many people consider the flu shot for themselves and their families since even the healthiest people are vulnerable to a circulating flu virus. With Influenza being a serious health threat that leads to hundreds of thousands of people needing hospitalization and sometimes even causes death, the best medicine is preventative medicine.
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How Flu Spreads
Did you know people with the flu can spread it to others up to about 6 feet away? The CDC cites that flu viruses are spread mainly by droplets made when people with the flu cough, sneeze or talk.
When these droplets are in the air, they can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs. It’s possible a person might also get the flu by touching a surface or object that has the flu virus on it and then touch their own nose or mouth.
A majority of adults have had the flu at some point in their lives. Do you remember how miserable it can make you or your child feel? Preventing the flu is important, but if you think you’ve caught the bug, stay at home.
If you do have Influenza, your symptoms will likely include an acute onset of:
- Fever or feeling feverish/chills
- Body aches
- Runny nose/stuffy nose
- Sore throat
Symptoms start 1 to 4 days after the virus enters the body, meaning most healthy adults may be able to infect other people before symptoms develop. You are also likely to spread the virus for up to 5 to 7 days after becoming sick.
This means you may be able to pass the flu to someone else before you know you are sick, as well as while you are sick. It’s even likely people can be infected with the flu virus but have no symptoms at all! If someone in your home, office or gym is infected you have an increased chance of becoming sick…unless you received your flu shot.
How Effective Is The Vaccine?
While you may think you’re healthy enough to skip the vaccine this year, you’ll be surprised to know these statistics:
- The CDC estimates that vaccination prevented 5.1 million flu illnesses in the 2015‒2016 season.
- They also report that children who received a flu shot in 2015-2016 were 63% less likely to catch the flu than people who weren't vaccinated.
- In fact, the CDC claims that by getting vaccinated this year, you can reduce the risk of influenza related illness by 50% to 60%.
The CDC has also insisted for nearly a decade that the more people who get vaccinated, the higher the likelihood we all will be protected from the flu. This lower risk is important for the health of people over the age of 65, very young children, pregnant women and people with certain health conditions who are the most vulnerable to serious flu complications.
Although it is not a 100 percent guarantee that you won’t still get sick from the flu if you receive the vaccine, it may make your illness milder than if you aren’t vaccinated. You should consider the flu vaccination to reduce flu illnesses, doctor visits, missed work and school, as well as prevent flu-related hospitalizations and deaths.
With such a looming threat of medical bills, loss of time with family and having to suffer severe and painful symptoms, don’t take the risk of skipping the flu shot this season.
When should you get the annual shot?
It's much better to get vaccinated early in the fall before the flu begins spreading in your community. It’s also worth noting that it takes about two weeks after receiving the vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body and provide protection against the virus. Therefore, in the meantime, you are still at risk for catching the flu.
Aim to receive your flu shot in August or September every year. Our CareNow Urgent Care facilities are offering flu shots for only $25 across the country, so be sure to find your local clinic!
What Is The Flu Shot?
Vaccines are like a training course for the immune system. The science behind the vaccine is to prepare your immune system to fight the disease without exposing it to disease symptoms. In the two weeks after receiving your shot, your immune cells respond to the invading bacteria by developing antibodies. These antibodies help fight off the virus while simultaneously working with your body’s natural defenses to help safely develop immunity.
What’s new for 2017?
For the 2017-2018 flu season, only injectable vaccinations are recommended.
In the last few years, there’s been an attempt to cater to the demand of vaccinating those with a fear of needles. The CDC piloted a nasal spray that data now shows was not significantly effective at preventing flu from 2013 to 2016.
CareNow® Urgent Care offers low-cost quadrivalent flu vaccines to protect against four different flu viruses; two influenza A viruses and two influenza B viruses.
The Future of the Flu Shot
For many illnesses, you can receive a series of vaccinations and perhaps an occasional booster and be protected from that illness forever. The flu, however, is an ever-changing virus with vaccinations that evolve every year. This is why it’s important to receive it annually.
Moving forward (according to a recent study by ScienceNews.org), researchers are working to develop a “genetic crystal ball” that will help to predict whether certain people will respond effectively to the flu vaccine. Since the immune system is very personal, researchers are using genetic signals such as blood type and gene make-up to discover ways of triggering more successful vaccine responses.
In addition to improving the vaccine’s effectiveness, an alternative to needle-and-syringe immunization such as patches with dissolving microneedles are still being studied. Advances such as these can transform how we get vaccinated, raising the potential of mail delivery and self-administration. This advancement would be very exciting since, after all, the more accessible and effective the vaccine is for everyone, the higher the likelihood we will all be less at risk of illness.
In 2004, the CDC determined the vaccine reduced the risk of flu illness by about 10%. For this 2017-2018 season, studies have shown to reduce the risk by 50% to 60%. With these major strides in improving the shot’s effectiveness in the last 10-15 years, you can feel confident that you’re as protected as possible from the threat of a circulating flu viruses this year.
The Best Place to Get Vaccinated?
While there are many options on where to get your vaccination, be sure to check with your insurance provider for specific approved locations.
If you are uninsured, visit your local CareNow to receive the flu shot for $25 or less!
Remember: it’s important to get vaccinated before you fall ill, so don’t wait until it’s too late! CareNow offers competitive prices for care, a clean and comfortable environment and experienced doctors and healthcare professionals ready to answer any and all of your flu-related questions.
You don’t even have to wait for your walk-in appointment when you use our Web Check-in ® service!
Disclaimer: Patients’ health can vary. Always consult with a medical professional before taking medication, making health-related decisions or deciding if medical advice is right for you.