Ask Mr. Pedometer and Friends…and Get a Flu Shot
Q: Mr. Pedometer, I’ve never gotten the flu, so why should I bother to stand in line to get a flu shot every year?
A: First of all, “the flu” takes on new forms each year, so the vaccine changes accordingly. You are very fortunate not have had the misery of flu symptoms, which can last for three weeks (and sometimes lead to hospitalization). However, getting the flu shot isn’t just about you: It’s about protecting others you come into contact with – most noteworthy are the very young, the elderly, and those who have chronic health conditions. Consequently, for these folks, the flu can mean the difference between life and death. The more of us who get the flu shot, the less dire their chances. “Complications of the flu can include bacterial pneumonia, ear infections, sinus infections, dehydration, and worsening of chronic medical conditions, such as congestive heart failure, asthma, or diabetes,” warns Kaiser Permanente health organization (www.kp.org)
Kaiser encourages everyone 6 months and older to get a flu shot every year, starting in September.
Their website notes that “vaccination is especially important for:
People 50 years and older
Children 6 months through 4 years old
Women who are or who may become pregnant during flu season
People with chronic medical conditions or weakened immune systems
People who live in nursing homes and other long-term care centers
Health care workers
People who live or care for anyone at high risk for flu-related complications.”
Symptoms of the flu include fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headaches, chills, and fatigue. If you are experiencing these signs, you may very well have the flu. “Make sure to:
- Get plenty of rest.
Drink enough liquids.
Stay home until fever-free for 24 hours.
Because of the number of flu strains, once you are well, get a flu shot.
Consult with your doctor before using over-the-counter products if you take medication for other conditions.
Follow dosage instructions listed on the product.”
Avoid spreading illness:
Limit contact with others.
Wash your hands with soap often.
Cough and sneeze into your elbow or a tissue.”
Protect yourself and those you care about from suffering with the flu this year and get a flu shot.
Here’s wishing you a flu-free season between now and March!