20 Oct Flu Season: How Worried Should You Be?
It’s that time of year again! The weather is starting to cool down, the days are getting a little bit shorter, and “Get your flu shot here!” signs are popping up in front of grocery stores and pharmacies. With everything in your busy schedule, do you really have time to get a flu shot? Probably not…but should you make the time?
What Is the Flu, Technically?
“Flu” is actually short for “influenza,” and in short, it’s a much more serious version of the common cold. With the flu, you’ll get the sneezing, congestion, and sore throat that you’ll generally see with a cold, but you’ll also get a high fever, fatigue, and body aches. The flu is more serious because it can potentially lead to other life-threatening conditions, including pneumonia.
The flu is most common in the United States in fall and winter, usually experiencing peaks between December and March. Since it typically takes your body’s immune system about two weeks to fully respond to the vaccine, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests that you get your flu shot before November so that your body is protected before peak season hits.
The CDC also recommends the flu vaccination for everyone ages six months old and older (so if you’re reading this, that means you). Younger children may require two doses of the vaccine, so talk to your child’s health care professional to determine whether your child needs one dose or two.
What the Flu Shot Is Really About
Ultimately, it’s not just about protecting yourself—it’s about protecting those around you. The key concept here is “herd immunity”: when the majority of individuals in a community are vaccinated, those individuals create a protective barrier around those who are not immunized. While the majority of healthy adults under the age of 65 won’t die from contracting the flu, your being vaccinated helps contain the spread of the virus, and you could prevent the flu spreading to high risk individuals, including young children and the elderly. In fact, the CDC estimates that over 90% of deaths from the flu are cases involving adults over the age of 65.
For herd immunity to be effective with the flu, the CDC says that 75% of a given community needs to be vaccinated. In 2015, only 47% of Americans received the vaccination. So, let’s backtrack to our question at the beginning of the article: how worried should you be about flu season this year? Worried enough to get a flu shot.
You can get yours at LT Men’s Clinic, where our flu shot covers four strains of the flu. Shots are $35 each and most insurances are accepted.
Plus, we can schedule a flu clinic for your business if your company has more than 50 employees. All we need is ten days of advance notice, so contact our office today at (817) 416.5698 for more information.