By Eric M. Folkens, M.D., Family Medicine,
Bradenton/Lakewood Ranch/Sarasota Urgent Care Walk-In Clinics
When it’s after November and you see signs and banners in your community that advertise, “Get Your Flu Vaccine Here,” you might think, “Isn’t it too late for that?”
The answer is no!
Flu season typically peaks in February and can last as late as May. The CDC encourages people who have not yet been vaccinated to get vaccinated now.
For millions of people every season, the flu can mean a fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle aches, fatigue, and miserable days spent in bed. However, you may not realize that more than 200,000 people are hospitalized in the United States from flu complications each year. The flu also can be deadly.
This is why CDC recommends an annual flu vaccine for everyone 6 months and older. It’s available in two forms: a shot and a nasal spray. Flu shot options include the regular flu shot, the new intradermal flu shot, and a high-dose flu shot. While the regular flu shot can be given to just about everyone, the intradermal flu shot is approved for use in adults 18 through 64 years of age, and the high-dose flu shot is for people aged 65 years and older. The nasal spray vaccine is approved only for use in healthy people ages 2 to 49 years who aren’t pregnant.
Anyone can get the flu, but some people are at greater risk for serious flu-related complications, like pneumonia, that can lead to hospitalization and even death. For those at greater risk for complications, getting the flu vaccine is especially important. People at greater risk include:
• Children younger than 5 years old, but especially children younger than 2 years old
• Pregnant women
• People with certain medical conditions like
asthma, diabetes, or heart and lung disease
• People 65 years and older
It’s also important to get the vaccine if you care for anyone in one or more of these high risk groups, or for babies younger than 6 months because they are too young to get the vaccine.
Children 6 months through 8 years of age getting vaccinated for the first time need two doses of flu vaccine to be fully protected. If a child has not received his/her first dose, get them vaccinated now. For children who are 6 months through 8 years of age and who have been vaccinated with one dose, parents should check with the child’s doctor to see if a second dose is needed.
Getting the flu vaccine is simple, and it’s the most important thing you can do to protect yourself and your family from the flu.
Flu vaccines are offered at many locations, including doctor’s offices, clinics, health departments, pharmacies and college health centers. Stop in or call one of the four Urgent Care center locations for more information about the flu vaccine and other services they provide. Walk-ins are welcome at each location, stop by today for the flu vaccine to protect yourself and your family from being another statistic in this year’s flu pandemic.
“TAKE 3” ACTIONS TO FIGHT THE FLU
. The flu vaccine is the first and most important step in protecting against flu viruses.
. Everyone 6 months of age and older should get a flu vaccine.
. Protects against viruses that research suggests will be most common.
. High risk: young children, pregnant women, chronic health conditions, 65 or older.
2 Stop Germs
. Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you sneeze.
. Wash your hands often with soap and water.
. If you are sick with flu-like symptoms, stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care.
. If sick, limit contact with others as much as possible.
3 Antiviral Drugs
. If you get the flu, antiviral drugs can treat your illness by making symptoms milder and shortening the time you are sick. The earlier administered, the better.
. Flu-like symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body ache, chills, headache, fatigue, vomiting, and diarrhea.
Sarasota Urgent Care
6272 Lake Osprey Dr., Sarasota, Fl 34240
(941) 907-2800 | www.SarasotaUrgentCare.com
Lakewood Ranch Urgent Care
9908 S.R. 64 East, Bradenton, Fl 34212
(941) 747-8600 | www.LWRUC.com
Bradenton Urgent Care
4647 Manatee Avenue West
Bradenton, Fl 34209
(941) 745-5999 | www.BradentonUrgentCare.com