Flu Shot Q & A

Flu season is still here and the flu is spreading fast across the U.S. New cases of the flu are being seen in clinics and emergency rooms across Southwest Georgia. Below are a few answers to some important questions to keep you informed about the flu.

1. Is it too late to get the flu shot?

The best time to get the flu vaccine is before the flu hits. Flu season usually starts sometime in October and can last until May so early fall is generally the best time. This gives the body a chance to build immunity before flu season starts. However, with the increasing number of flu cases we are seeing around this time of the year, it is NEVER TOO LATE TO VACCINATE.

2. Why is it important to get the flu shot?

The flu virus spreads easily and can be contracted when an infected person coughs, talks or sneezes and droplets enter your nose or mouth. While the flu vaccine doesn’t 100% guarantee you will not get the virus it does greatly reduce your chances. It also teaches your immune system to recognize the virus as a threat; therefore, if you do get the flu after having been vaccinated, it tends to have a milder course. The flu can cause some serious complications, including severe pneumonia, that may require hospitalization.

Once diagnosed with the flu patients should not return back to school or work until they have been without a fever for 24 hours and 5 days has passed since the onset of symptoms. 

3. Who should get the flu shot?

People of all ages should be vaccinated, including pregnant women, in order to reduce their risk. It is even more imperative that those individuals with chronic medical problems such as asthma, COPD, heart disease, diabetes and cancer consider vaccination in order to protect themselves.

4. Where can I get the flu shot?

You can see your primary care physician or any of the local pharmacies for a flu shot.

5. What should I do if I start to feel sick?

If you start to feel symptoms of the flu, such as fever, body aches, runny nose, cough, sore throat, headaches and fatigue, you should immediately seek medical attention. There is medication that if started within 48 hours of the onset of symptoms will stop replication of the virus and help you to feel better faster. This also will help reduce the risk of serious complications from the flu. Starting the medication as soon as the flu is suspected is extremely important in order to achieve the best results possible from the medication.

Additionally, if you are feeling sick, avoid being in public as the flu is easily transmitted. You do not want to get your colleagues, classmates, friends and family members sick as well!

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