Greetings from the Bethel Health Center,
Fall is upon us. The leaves are changing colors, pumpkin spice is back, and it is time to get your flu vaccine.
Everyone over the age of 6 months should get the flu vaccine annually. It is best to get your vaccine by the end of October. Influenza is a serious respiratory virus that can lead to hospitalization and even death. According to the CDC, flu related deaths have ranged from 12,000-56,000 people/year since 2010 in the US. Millions of people get the flu annually.
There are many different strains of the flu. The CDC creates a vaccine annually that protects again 3-4 strains of influenza, we are using a quadrivalent vaccine this year in our clinic which will protect against Influenza A strains- H1N1, H3N3 and Influenza B strains- Yamagata, Victoria
Most common side effects from getting the flu vaccine include soreness, redness, swelling where the shot was given, low-grade fever, and/or body aches. People often have the misconception that the flu vaccine has given them the flu in the past or has the potential to give them the flu. The current flu vaccine cannot give you the flu, the vaccine is made from inactivated not live virus flu and therefore is not infectious.
There are several reasons why people who get the flu vaccine still get sick with the flu virus:
- People may become infected with the flu virus right before being vaccinated or in the 2 week period after the vaccine.
- People may become ill with other (non-flu) viruses, that may cause flu-like symptoms.
- A person may have exposure to a flu virus that is not included in the flu vaccine.
- Some people can still be infected with influenza despite having the vaccine. A person’s immunity after vaccination can be influenced by many factors including age and health. The CDC estimates that the flu vaccine ranges from 40-60% effective in preventing the flu.
Symptoms of influenza may vary, but typical symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headaches, chills, and fatigue. Some people may also experience nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.
The best way to prevent flu this season is by getting the flu vaccine. In addition, try to avoid close contact with sick people. Wash your hands often with soap and water. Try to avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth as germs are spread this way. It is also important to clean and disinfect surfaces that may be contaminated with the flu virus and other respiratory viruses.
Call us at (541) 607-1430 to make your appointment to get your flu vaccine.
Bethel Health Center Staff