This post has been contributed by a member of the community. ST. PETERSBURG, FL – The case is in the…
This post has been contributed by a member of the community.
ST. PETERSBURG, FL – The case is in the air and so begins the annual flu season. While influenza – or flu – is most serious for older Americans and people with certain chronic conditions, influenza can affect people of all ages, leading to hospital care, significant health complications and even death.
As many as 35 million flu cases are expected this year, starting in October and continuing to May, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). While peak months are typically December to February, the best time to prevent influenza is begun before it begins.
Most people have probably had the flu at some point ̵
1; with symptoms like a constant cough, sore throat, runny or clogged nose, body ache, headache and fatigue – but many myths and misconceptions persist. To deal with common misconceptions and help clarify why influenza supplements are important, Dr. Mayren Hernandez, Chief Health Officer of UnitedHealthcare Florida, shares six of the most common myths and facts:
Myth : Influenza works not really.
Facts : The influenza vaccine reduces the risk of mission and spread of the disease by up to 60 percent according to the CDC. The effectiveness of the vaccine depends on several factors – including the time between vaccination and exposure to the disease, your age and state of health – but studies show that the influenza vaccine benefits public health, especially when the vaccine is well matched with the circulating virus of the year.
Myth : I was vaccinated last year, so I should be good even this year.
Facts : The influenza virus changes every year so flu vaccines change to keep the pace. In addition, the body’s immune response to an influenza vaccine decreases over time, meaning that an annual vaccination is the best option.
Facts : It’s true to be healthy can help you recover from disease faster, but it will not prevent you from getting or spreading the influenza virus. Even healthy people can infect and spread the influenza virus without showing symptoms.
Myth : The influenza vaccine is only necessary for the old and very young.
Facts : The CDC recommends flu shots for all six months and as early as autumn or early winter as possible. Being vaccinated later in the flu season – through January or even after – may still be useful. It’s important to start early in the season for children, as two doses of the vaccine may be necessary, with the shots given at least four weeks apart.
Myth : The influenza vaccine causes strong side effects.
Facts : The influenza vaccine does not cause harmful side effects. Some may experience mild side effects, such as tenderness, redness or swelling where the shot was given, a low-grade fever or less pain, but these are usually short-lived. You do not have to worry about changing your medication routine because the vaccine does not interact with other medicines.
Myth : Getting the flu is not so serious.
Facts : CDC reports that more than 200,000 people are hospitalized from flu complications each year while 36,000 die of it. Reducing the risk of influenza is especially important for people with certain medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes or chronic lung disease. and for pregnant women, young children and persons 65 years of age and older. Even for people without complications, flu symptoms can interfere with work, school or social life for several weeks or more.
Now it’s time to get an influenza vaccine, which is considered to be preventive and in most cases covered by employers, individual and Medicare and Medicaid health plans. Vaccines are available through primary care staff and health clinics. Visit the CDC website at cdc.gov/flu to search for a nearby healthcare provider based on your zip code.
Photo: Autumn’s beginning also means the beginning of the flu season.
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