Nobody wants to catch the flu, but people get it all of the time. In fact, according to WebMD, “5% to 20% of the U.S. population will get the flu, on average, each year.” And, while the flu itself doesn’t seem all that frightening to many of us, people do die from it. To be exact, WebMD stated that 3,000 to 49,000 people die each year from flu-related causes in the U.S.
The thing is, the flu is totally preventable with a typical flu shot. But before we regale you with flu shot resources, let’s talk about all the details of the flu and how it will affect you.
Typical Flu Symptoms
Sickness symptoms are different for everyone, but by and large, according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), flu sufferers experience most of the following (sometimes not a fever though):
- Fever or feeling feverish/chills
- Sore throat
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Muscle or body aches
- Fatigue (very tired)
- Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults.
Catching and Spreading
Per the CDC, “Most experts believe that flu viruses spread mainly by droplets made when people with flu cough, sneeze or talk. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby. Less often, a person might also get flu by touching a surface or object that has flu virus on it and then touching their own mouth, eyes or possibly their nose.”
They also note that the flu can be contagious one day prior to visible symptoms and 5-7 days after symptoms present themselves. In some cases those with less strong immunities can be infectious for longer though.
While a flu vaccine is the best way to avoid the flu, little actions like steering clear of sick people, covering your mouth when you cough and regular hand washing habits will help too.
Timing is everything and flu season is no exception! According to the CDC, “While seasonal influenza (flu) viruses can be detected year-round in the United States, flu viruses are most common during the fall and winter. The exact timing and duration of flu seasons can vary, but influenza activity often begins to increase in October. Most of the time flu activity peaks between December and February, although activity can last as late as May.”
That means that if you want to be proactive, it is important to get your flu shot before October. Per the CDC, “Everyone 6 months and older should get a flu vaccine every year by the end of October, if possible. But better late than never! Vaccination should continue throughout the flu season, even in January or later. It takes two weeks after receiving the vaccine for it to become totally effective.”
Where to Get the Shot
While there are many places where you can get the flu shot (even including your local pharmacy), we recommend visiting your primary care provider.
DMC Primary Care has flu vaccines available for our patients in all of our offices. It’s simple, quick and easy: Just call the main number 603-537-1300 and ask to be scheduled for a flu shot at a time most convenient for you. You will be in and out in less than 15 minutes! Here at DMC Primary Care you can be assured that the providers you trust, who care about you as a patient in the long-term, are attending to your needs. They are also a great resource for questions about the shot before and after vaccination.
You can learn more about Derry Medical Services and DMC Primary Care below.
*Please note that this blog has been updated for 2018 availability.