It’s estimated that about 38 million people caught the flu in 2019. The flu is highly contagious and poses a significant threat to children and adults over 65. The flu virus is at least a few thousand years old and affects nearly every population in the world. The bad news is that the flu can be deadly, but the good news is that flu vaccines are effective and widely available in the United States.
Our caring professionals at Neighborhood Pediatrics in Shenandoah, Texas, are led by Rachel McConnell, MD, and Sharon Lucas, MD. Dr. McConnell and Dr. Lucas treat many people with flu symptoms, and they also offer prevention that can prevent the flu. The importance of getting your family vaccinated against the flu has several benefits. Read on to learn more.
What happens when I catch the flu?
If you’ve never had the flu, you’re very lucky. The flu comes from the name of the virus that causes it — influenza. Influenza is similar to common colds. Though the two illnesses have much in common, flu symptoms tend to be more intense. The flu can also cause complications, some of which can be fatal, particularly in very young people and seniors.
Symptoms of the flu are fairly distinct, including:
- Shortness of breath
- Dry throat
- Dry, persistent cough
- Headaches and body aches
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Weakness and tiredness
If you or your child are experiencing these symptoms, it’s essential to contact your provider at Neighborhood Pediatrics. At the onset of these symptoms, make sure to get plenty of rest and fluids.
What are the benefits of the flu vaccine?
Getting your flu vaccine is a small step you can take to protect yourself and the people around you. What’s more important about getting your flu vaccine, or any vaccine, is to prevent the virus from mutating, which often makes the infection stronger.
Stop the flu from infecting you
The clearest, most immediate benefit of getting a flu shot is the fact that you are far less likely to get the flu after you’ve been treated with a flu shot. Choosing to get a flu shot can save you from missing work, save your child from missing school, and prevent the list of miserable symptoms that will likely keep you away from your daily life for a week.
Reduce the likelihood of a hospitalization
Severe flu infections hospitalized almost a half-million people in the US in 2019. Of those hospitalized, around 22,000 people passed away. Since the various quarantine periods of 2020 kept people home and out of work and school, there were very few incidences of the flu last year.
The best-known symptoms of the flu can be difficult to deal with, but they aren’t usually the symptoms that will land you or your child in the hospital. While the flu shot isn’t a 100% guarantee that you won’t get the flu, the possibility of developing serious complications from the flu is drastically reduced.
Some of the complications associated with severe flu include pneumonia, heart problems, and ear infections.
Prevent the spread of the flu
Vaccinating yourself against the flu makes it more difficult to pass it on to people who are more vulnerable to the flu. Age, overall health, the presence of chronic conditions, and which flu strain you come in contact with can all affect how likely you are to have a severe flu.
How do I get vaccinated against the flu?
We offer flu vaccinations in our office, and so do many local and national pharmacies. There are some places where low-income individuals can get their flu vaccine at no cost.
If you think you or your child has the flu, or if you’re ready for your flu shot, call us at 832-813-5743, or book an appointment with us online.