The winter months are prime flu season, but if you haven’t already had your flu shot, it’s not too late. Though it takes several weeks for your immune system to develop flu protection, there’s still time to ensure you and your family are protected ahead of the Christmas and New Year’s holiday.
All it takes is a call to the closest location of First Care Medical Clinic to schedule a visit. Call the office directly or use the convenient online booking tool to set up your flu shot today.
How the flu shot helps
Research shows the flu vaccine can significantly reduce the number of doctor visits for flu symptoms, by as much as 60%. The flu shot prevents millions of illnesses and about 85,000 flu-related hospitalizations. That’s great news, especially for young children and older adults, who are at higher risk of getting the flu each year.
Those with chronic health conditions, like diabetes or lung disease, may greatly reduce their risk of being hospitalized from flu symptoms when they opt for a flu immunization. Pregnant women can reduce their risk of flu-associated acute respiratory infection by up to 50% as well.
The flu shot protects people of all ages from current strains of influenza, which change from year to year. Even if you do get sick, the flu vaccine reduces both the severity of your symptoms and your chances of being hospitalized.
Is the flu shot right for you?
The answer for virtually everyone is an emphatic yes. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), everyone over 6 months old should get a flu shot. That means, aside from very young babies, every member of your family should protect themselves with a yearly flu vaccine.
Flu vaccines are especially important for those in high-risk categories or people with chronic health conditions, including:
- Young children
- Older adults
- Pregnant women
- Cystic fibrosis
- Kidney disease
- Liver disease
- Weakened immune system
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
Even if you’re not in a high-risk group, your vaccine can assist others by reducing the prevalence of flu in your community.
After you get your flu shot, it takes up to two weeks for immunity to build in your system, so the sooner you book your appointment, the sooner you’ll be prepared for the upcoming influenza season.
Beyond the shot: ways to protect yourself
The flu shot is your best defense against the flu each year. However, it’s only part of the protection. You can take additional steps to protect yourself and your family from the flu and other viruses. These tips can help you stay healthy all year long:
- Wash your hands frequently throughout the day
- Avoid touching your nose, eyes, and mouth
- Use hand sanitizer when you don’t have access to soap and water
- Get enough sleep
- Exercise regularly
- Eat nutritious foods
- Drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated
- Manage stress
If you or your children do get sick, stay home from work or school so you can prevent spreading it to others. You can infect other people for five to seven days after becoming sick, and symptoms can last up to two weeks.
It’s not only you who benefits from your flu shot, so make sure you’re protected this season. Contact First Care Medical Clinic today.