Are You Prepared for Flu Season?

11/2/2017

With the start of football season comes the start of flu season. Just as you prepare for the things you look forward to from season to season, it’s equally as important to prepare for flu season.

One way to prepare for flu season is to know when you should get vaccinated. Flu season typically starts around October and can sometimes extend to April or May.

When I ask my patients if they have received their flu shot yet, many people respond with the same answer, “I don’t get the flu shot because it gave me the flu one time.” This however is a myth.

It is actually impossible to get flu from an injected flu vaccine. The vaccine consists of flu viruses that are “dead” (inactive). They are not able to cause flu because they can’t come back to life. The flu mist has weakened active viruses but is currently not available this flu season.

The flu vaccine may cause side effects that could be mistaken for flu such as, muscles aches especially in the arm and nausea. Sometimes people develop flu within seven to 10 days after receiving the shot. In this instance, flu is the culprit, not the shot. It takes about two weeks after vaccination for you to develop antibodies to provide protection.

Flu is a viral illness that for most people resolves over seven to 10 days. The problem lies in the complications associated with flu, it is responsible for hundreds of thousands of hospitalizations annually and tens of thousands of deaths. The flu vaccine helps to reduce the incidence of these complications.

In my opinion, it is much better to have minor side effects from a vaccination than the actual flu which may lead to hospitalization.

The vaccine not only helps you, it can help the community as well. The person next to you may not be able to receive the vaccine due to health reasons, therefore your vaccination may help them. Washing your hands frequently throughout the season can help prevent spreading the virus as well.

The flu vaccine is now available at St. Martinville Family Medicine. If you feel like you may be experiencing flu-like symptoms contact your primary care physician or, call St. Martinville Family Medicine (337) 342-2706.

Katie Martin is a nurse practitioner at St. Martinville Family Medicine, and is now accepting new patients. St. Martinville Family Medicine is located at 508 W. Bridge St., St. Martinville, LA 70582.

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