CareNow® - September 18, 2018

As the flu begins circulating in late fall, and lasting into early spring, many families will need their annual flu shot! 

Since the flu can often turn into a serious health threat, even resulting in hospitalization, it's smart to be proactive and ensure you and your family gets their annual flu shot.

Here's what to expect this 2018 - 2019 season.

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How Flu Spreads

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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
  • Cough
  • Fatigue

Those infected are likely to spread the virus for up to 5 to 7 days after becoming 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.

What Is The Flu Shot?

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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 2018?

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The makeup of the 2018-2019 flu shot will differ some from last year.

The biggest changes will be the different strain of the H3N2 virus as well as the different strain of the influenza B virus.

According to the CDC, this year’s trivalent flu shot will contain the following strains of the virus:

  • A/Michigan/45/2015 (H1N1)pdm09-like virus — This is the H1N1 component that is the same as last year's flu shot.
  • A/Singapore/INFIMH-16–0019/2016 A(H3N2)-like virus — This is the H3N2 component that is different from last year's flu shot.
  • B/Colorado/06/2017-like (B/Victoria lineage) virus — This is the influenza B strain component that is the different from last year's shot.

Unlike last year, when the recommendation was for the injectable vaccination, there is no preferential recommendation this year.

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The Future of the Flu Shot

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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 2018-2019 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.

Best Urgent Care To Get Your Flu Shot?

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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 $20!

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.

Find Your Local CareNow® To Get Your Flu Shot

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.