Flu season is here. Think it’s just something you have to suffer through each winter?
Flu season is here. Think it’s just something you have to suffer through each winter? Think again. Each year, an average of 200,000 people in the U.S. are hospitalized for flu-related complications, and 3,000 to 49,000 die from flu-related causes. However, a simple vaccination can protect you from getting and spreading the flu.
“The best way to protect yourself is to get vaccinated,” said Soraya Nasraty, M.D., medical director of Norton Immediate Care Centers.
However, not all flu shots are created equal. Norton Healthcare offers the quadrivalent vaccine, which provides broader protection against the influenza virus that causes the flu.
According to Dr. Nasraty, the quadrivalent vaccine protects against four different viruses — two influenza A and two influenza B strains. The trivalent vaccine, which previously had been offered to patients, protects against just three — two influenza A strains and one influenza B strain. This upgrade means you are better protected against influenza during this flu season.
Dr. Nasraty recommends everyone 6 months of age and older get vaccinated to reduce their risk of getting the flu.
When to get the flu shot
You should get vaccinated as soon as the vaccination becomes available. Flu season often peaks between December and February; however, seasonal flu activity can begin in October and last through May. All Norton Immediate Care Centers now have quadrivalent vaccines.
Signs and symptoms of the flu
The flu can cause mild to severe illness and sometimes leads to death. You may have the flu if you are experiencing some or all of these symptoms:
- Feeling feverish/chills
- Sore throat
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Muscle or body aches
The flu can last a few days to several weeks depending on the severity of the illness. The flu can result in complications such as pneumonia, bronchitis, and sinus and ear infections.
Stop the flu with good habits
Getting vaccinated is the best way to stop the flu. However, good hygiene habits can help prevent the spread of germs and other respiratory illnesses. Dr. Nasraty recommends these everyday preventive actions to avoid the spread of germs that could cause the flu:
- Avoid contact with sick people: Keep your distance from people who are showing symptoms of illness, such as coughing or sneezing.
- Cover your nose and mouth: Use a tissue to cover your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze and then be sure to throw that tissue away.
- Wash your hands: Wash your hands often with soap and water or use alcohol-based hand rub.
- Clean surfaces: Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that could be contaminated.
The spread of flu and other germs stops with you. Visit any Norton Immediate Care Center to get your quadrivalent flu vaccine. Call ahead to avoid a wait. Find a Norton Immediate Care Center near you and learn about their call-ahead service.