Flu Vaccination is Most Effective

It must be that time of year.  Halloween is approaching…we are losing more and more of our day light (not to mention daylight savings time is ending soon)…and I got my annual flu shot last week.

Yes, we have seasonal changes upon us.  And I already have been informed as to some local cases of the flu.

Our elderly parents, and all community seniors, are at risk. Human immune defenses become weaker with age. Flu is a contagious, viral, respiratory disease. It can be either mild or severe, depending on the strain of virus. Colder temperatures can bring on a sore throat or a runny nose, which can weaken the body’s normal resistance.

Flu is a virus which is unpredictable. In addition to the elderly, those most at risk include pregnant women; young children (six months to two years); and those with chronic health conditions like diabetes, heart disease, and asthma.

Symptoms which are common for flu include fever, cough, previously mentioned sore throat or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. More severe symptoms may also experience vomiting and diarrhea.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), an annual flu vaccination is the most effective protection against catching the flu.  Flu is a serious contagious disease that can lead to hospitalization and even death.  If at all possible, those at high risk need to get an annual vaccination.

In addition, the CDC offers the following tips in coping with the flu:

  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue whenever you cough or sneeze, and throw the tissue away after you use it.
  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water and, when not available, an alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth to stop the spread of germs.
  • Avoid people who are sick.
  • If you have flu–like symptoms, stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or other necessities.

Antiviral drugs, accompanied by a doctor’s prescription, are used to treat high risk patients who come down with the flu. These are medicines (pills, liquid or an inhaled powder) that are not available over-the-counter and should be used in the first two days of symptoms.