The Flu Season is Here

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Disclaimer:  I am only sharing what I know as a nurse.  I am still learning and growing.  Talk to your provider about any issue or concerns regarding your health!

 

Why did I take my flu shot this morning?

As a nurse, I’ve seen suffering, and I know that it only takes one second for any condition to shift to the worse. It is very important to be proactive and take certain preventive measures to remain healthy.

Why did I take the flu vaccine?

The flu vaccine can keep us from getting sick with the flu which is an infection that can cause fever, cough, body aches, and other symptoms. There are different forms of the flu and all of them are caused by viruses. The medical term for the flu is “influenza.”

The flu vaccine comes in different forms, including:

A shot that goes into the muscle (usually in the upper part of the arm)

A shot that goes under the skin

A nasal spray

All people age 6 months or older should get the flu vaccine every year and the best time of year to get the flu vaccine is before the winter season begins.  The vaccine is especially important for certain people at high risk.

Getting vaccinated can help keep us from getting sick. Plus, being vaccinated can help protect those around us from getting sick. If we have been vaccinated but get the flu, the vaccine can also keep us from getting severely ill or even dying.

Some people think the flu vaccine doesn’t work because they have known people who got the vaccine and got the flu anyway. But that does not mean the vaccine does not work. Many people who get sick after getting the flu vaccine do not actually have the flu; they have a cold caused by a virus unrelated to the flu virus, so the flu vaccine can’t help with that.

Often the vaccine causes no side effects. When it does cause side effects, it can cause:

 Redness, mild swelling, or soreness where you got the shot (if you got a shot)

A mild fever

A mild rash

A headache or body aches

Vaccines also sometimes cause more serious side effects, such as severe allergic reactions which are rare.

The flu vaccine does not cause the flu. People sometimes feel sick after getting the vaccine, but this is often because they were already starting to get sick with the flu or another virus before they had the vaccine.

It is very important that pregnant women get the flu vaccine.  The flu symptoms can get worse quickly and be dangerous during pregnancy. The flu can even cause trouble breathing or lead to the death of the woman or her baby. That is why it is so important to get the flu vaccine if you are or will be pregnant during flu season.

Some healthy tips to prevent the flu:

Wash your hands often with soap and water, or use alcohol hand rubs

Stay away from people you know are sick

If we are exposed to the flu, our doctor can prescribe some antiviral medicines to help protect us from the flu, but those medicines are not appropriate for everyone. Besides, those antiviral medicines work only if we start them very soon after being exposed or as soon as we show symptoms.

If you have the flu, be mindful and protect others

Stay home if you get the flu. Do not go to work or school until your fever has been gone for at least 24 hours, without taking fever-reducing medicine, such as Tylenol. If you work in a healthcare setting taking care of patients, you might need to stay home longer if you are still coughing.

Cover your mouth and nose with the inside of your elbow when you cough or sneeze.

 

Let’s Stay healthy Together

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21 COMMENTS

  1. I get the flu shot but after reading so many articles I’m kinda
    Worried. It only protects against one strain and and last year was only 30% effective. I have no idea what’s in it but I just do it because they tell me.

  2. I am all for the flu vaccine and get mine every year right when the season starts to shift. I’ve always gone with the shot but am curious if there are any differences in efficacy between it and the nasal spray. Thanks for the public health reminder!

    • My family and I always get the shot as well, Lois. I have never had the nasal spray. Your doctor can help you decide which vaccine is best for you.

  3. Thanks for the info definitely something to think about. I don’t really get the flu shot anymore because everytime I did I ended up in the hospital a few days later. Since I’ve stopped I have not gotten sick during flu season minus a tiny sinus infection

  4. I truly believe in prevention if at all possible. Thanks for some additional tips! I am so glad I no longer work in retail. I was one of the ones who developed swine flu years ago – talk about miserable.

  5. Very good advice. I have to admit, I do not get the flu shot. I have not in years. But I also have been working from home and rarely go into an office. And now I work for myself. I will have to give it some thought if I am going to take it going forward. Thanks for the information.

  6. Good to hear some sensible advice around vaccinations; it’s so easy to forget how lucky we are to have them. I think a big part of the problem is that people often say they have flu when they really mean they have a cold, so people forget just how serious flu can be.

  7. My whole family (2 under 5 years old) myself and my husband as well as my extended family (grandparents, great grandparents) caught a bug from one of my kids and it’s knocked all of us on our behinds. It seems that this cold/cough virus that we have keeps coming back – round 2 for me now. I just got my kids vaccinated, for the first time EVER. I’ve never had the flu shot but because of the kids, I’m probably going to get one this year. Thanks for writing this article. Appreciate your insight as a medical professional.

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