August News: Flu Virus Vaccinations

Get A Flu Shot Early!

Avoid The Flu Virus

Getting the flu virus can be a big problem, especially for seniors, 65 and older, whose immune system may be weaker due to age. Flu symptoms like fever or feverish feeling, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle aches, fatigue and sometimes diarrhea and vomiting, make people miserable. The best way to avoid these is to get a flu shot…and get your flu shot early to protect against the virus.

Senior citizen getting flu vaccine in her shoulder.

Get your flu shot early in the season.

Why Get Vaccinated?

Influenza is a serious disease that can lead to hospitalization and sometimes even death, especially for seniors and people with chronic conditions. Symptoms of influenza usually appear 1-4 days after exposure.  Persons are most contagious during the 24 hours before symptoms appear and may be contagious for up to 5 -7 days after getting sick.

Can I Get Sick From the Flu Shot?

Serious reactions are rare.  Sometimes people get a mild reaction, commonly soreness, redness or swelling at the spot where the shot was given. Less frequently people may experience a slight fever and aches due to the virus. Symptoms may begin after the vaccination and can last 1 to 2 days.

Flu-like symptoms may also appear for other reasons. Viruses, like rhinovirus, which causes the common cold produce flu-like symptoms. The flu vaccine protects against flu virus but not a cold virus. Or possibly you were exposed to the flu virus but did not yet have symptoms. Symptoms may not show up for 5 to 7 days after exposure.

Can I get seasonal flu even though I got a flu vaccine this year?

Washing hands in sink with soap and water.

Avoid the virus. Wash hands often with soap and water.

The flu shot protects against many strains of flu virus but not all every year. That is why someone may get the flu even though they have had a flu shot.

It’s Contagious!

Experts believe the virus is spread by droplets when sneezing, coughing or talking from up to 6 feet away. The flu virus can also live on hard surfaces like doorknobs for up to 8 hours.

  • Stay away from others who are sick, or if you’re sick, stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone.
  • Wash hands often with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand rub when soap and water is not available
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
  • Wash eating utensils and towels/bed linens thoroughly
  • Clean surfaces at home like doorknobs and light switches.
  • But the best protection from the flu is to get a flu shot

Get A Flu Shot Early

The flu season is always unpredictable. But it generally starts in September and peaks during the months from October through February.  One thing is sure. Get your flu shot to protect yourself from getting the flu virus. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends an annual influenza vaccination for everyone 6 months and older.

Don't let the flu virus get you!

Don’t let the flu virus get you!

The Flu is Dangerous

Flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. It causes mild to severe illness.  Flu can result in hospitalization or death. Older people, children and others with an immune system deficiency are high risk for serious complications. Even if you are not high risk, get the flu shot anyway. You could pass the virus to someone and make that person very ill.

Prevention and Treatments

There is no scientific evidence that any herbal, homeopathic or other fold remedies have any benefit against the flu.

There are antiviral medicines on the market which may be useful in prevention and treatment in certain circumstances. Ask your doctor before trying.

August is “Immunization Awareness” Month

Senior patient discussing medical problems with concerned physician.

Ask your doctor about vaccinations you may need.

Talk with your healthcare professional to make sure you are up-to-date with vaccines recommended for you. If you are 60 years or older you should get a shingles vaccine to protect against getting this painful rash and avoid the long-term pain that may come with it.

Other vaccines you may need include:

  • Flu virus vaccine annually
  • Pneumococcal vaccines to protect against serious pneumococcal diseases
  • Tdap vaccine to protect against tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (whooping cough)

For more information on vaccines go to


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