It’s that time of year again: time to visit your doctor, and get your flu shot. Flu season is upon us once again, beginning in October and lasting until May. The good news is, officials are saying this year’s vaccination for the flu is expected to be more efficient than last years. As the shot takes approximately two weeks to fully help your body gain immunity against the flu, most doctors recommend getting the shot right now.
It’s important to remember: the virus from every flu season varies, so it is vital to get done annually. For some, the flu simply means a week off or so off of school or work, with symptoms like a fever, chills, aches, pains, and coughing … however for others, the illness can be fatal.
CNN reports that over 140 children died last year because of the flu, and each year approximately 20,000 kids are hospitalized because of the illness. As adult deaths are not tracked, studies estimate that about 3,000 to 49,000 people potentially die during the flu season; depending on the year, as the illness can be hard for seniors to cope with, and create escalated issues within adults who suffer with chronic health issues, like asthma.
According to Dr. William Schaffner, Vanderbilt University’s Department of Medicine, last season was particularly harsh, due to the predominant H3N2 strain. Unfortunately the virus ended up mutating, and the flu shot became only 19% effective. Still, as Schaffner notes, some immunity is better than none. This year’s flu shot has influenza B elements within it, with the two strains that most people got sick with, last year.
Should you get the flu, even if you have received a vaccination, visit your doctor and request Tamiflu, an antiviral medication. Tamiflu can decrease your sick days, and help with the flu symptoms you are suffering with.