Why You Need a Flu Shot This Season (and Frankly, Every Season)

Oh, the flu.  Have you caught it yet, or has it caught you? 

Whether the former or the latter assumes a more grammatically correct victimized position is neither here nor there.  What is over here, under there, and soon to haunt you everywhere (no, not The Cat in The Hat, Sam I Am, Thing One and Thing Two – or even Cindy Lou Who) is whether you have received your flu vaccine this season? 

 

What is the flu?

Mightily menacing, yet small in stature, the flu – formally termed influenza from the Italian word for “influence” because it connotes an outbreak of an epidemic1 – is a family of viruses that infects the nose, throat, and oftentimes the lungs.  Symptoms typically manifest two days after contact with the virus, causing fatigue, muscle aches, fever, chills, congestion, vomiting, diarrhea and abdominal pain.  Cases of the flu tend to pop up beginning in October, though its peak prevalence endures from December to February, as the lack of humidity and sunlight during the winter season create an environment conducive to its survival.2

 

Who is at risk for the flu?

Everyone, including those priding herculean immune systems! 

While modern medicine has made impressive strides since the Dark Ages, it has yet to outpace the ever-evolving strains of the flu virus, which is why the Center for Disease Control recommends people aged 6 months and up receive vaccinations annually.  It is estimated that over 3 million people in the United States are afflicted each year, yet young children, older adults, pregnant women, and those with chronic diseases or compromised immune systems are at highest risk for catching the flu, as well as experiencing later complications such as bronchitis and pneumonia, to name a few.2 

 

How does the flu spread?

Stealthily.

To elaborate, flu viruses are most commonly spread via respiratory droplets emitted from coughing and sneezing, although it can also be transferred through direct contact with an infected individual or touching a contaminated surface area.  People are most contagious from the onset of the illness up through a week post-infection (among adults) or two weeks (among children).2

 

How to prevent the flu?

Primarily, the most potent plan of attack for protecting yourself from these pernicious pathogens is to drop by Family Practice Associates and get yourself vaccinated.  We carry trivalent, quadrivalent and even high-dose flu vaccines in order to offer maximal protection for all age groups.    

Additionally, good hygiene habits such as frequent hand washing, avoiding close contact with sick people, staying home when ill, covering your mouth and nose with a facemask, coughing or sneezing into your elbow (and not into your hands), as well as not touching your eyes, nose or mouth until you have washed up are also healthy practices that will help keep you well.2 

 

Schedule your flu shot today

We referenced him before, and will do so once more:

You have brains in your head.  You have feet in your shoes.  You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You're on your own.  And you know what you know.  And YOU are the one who'll decide where to go...”3

Decide to call Family Practice Associates in Broomfield, Colorado and inoculate yourself today … err, catch the flu – before the flu catches YOU.

 

 

by Brenda Burgess, PhD in Nutritional Biochemistry & Physiology (Dr. Pamela Abrams' niece)

 

References

  1. influenza (n.). 2019; https://www.etymonline.com/word/influenza. Accessed October 7, 2019, 2019.
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Influenza (Flu). 2019; https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/viruses/index.htm. Accessed October 7, 2019, 2019.
  3. Dr. Seuss. Oh, the Places You'll Go! . Random House Children’s Books; 1960.

 

Author
Brenda Burgess, PhD

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