Q: How can I avoid getting the flu this year?
A: Influenza, commonly referred to as the flu, is a very contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. It can produce mild to severe illness. Adults 65 and older, young children and people with certain health conditions are at greater risk of serious flu complications.
Flu season usually starts in October and runs through March. The sooner you get vaccinated, the more protected you will be. Everyone 6 months of age and older should get vaccinated every year.
Getting a flu vaccination
During the 2017-2018 flu season, 19,689 people were treated in our emergency department for significant flu-related health issues. Some were so sick that we admitted them to the hospital. Of those, 70 percent had not gotten the flu shot and many were young, in their 20s and 30s.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
It is vital to get the flu shot every year because flu strains change. It takes most people about two weeks to build up immunity after being vaccinated.
Some people think they will get the flu from the shot. But there is no live virus in the injectable vaccine.
Why get vaccinated?
A vaccinated person is less likely to become infected with and transmit the flu virus. Getting vaccinated also means those who do still get the flu will experience less severe symptoms that don't last as long.
Ways to avoid the flu and stop its spread
Recognizing the signs of flu
Symptoms of the flu include having a fever of 100 degrees or more with one or more of the following:
If you are experiencing flu-like symptoms that are not life-threatening, consult with your primary-care or urgent-care provider; for more serious symptoms, seeking emergency care right away.