Each year, seasonal flu infections cause a variety of symptoms that start suddenly. The flu typically makes you feel rotten for 3 to 5 days. However, it can be dangerous for young children, older adults, and others with certain health conditions. To protect yourself and your community, you need a flu shot every year, recommends Dr. Joel Porter, associate medical director of Intermountain Healthcare’s Medical Group.
“This year, however, we are also faced with another infectious disease that has very similar symptoms, COVID-19,” said Dr. Porter. “Many of the same resources used in hospitals to care for influenza patients are being used for COVID, so it is more important than ever for individuals to receive their annual flu vaccine.”
Here are some common questions that people may have about flu vaccinations, from Intermountain Healthcare.
Who Can Be Vaccinated?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises that everyone ages 6 months and older receive an annual flu vaccination. This year, there is even greater emphasis.
“While we don’t have a vaccine available at this point for the COVID-19 virus, but we do have one that protects against influenza,” said Dr. Porter.
What is the Best Vaccine for Me?
There are a variety of options this year when it comes to your flu vaccine:
- Quadrivalent regular dose injectable (“shot”)·
- Intranasal or nasal spray (“FluMist”)·
- High dose quadrivalent for people age 65+ years
The best way to find the vaccine that is right for you is to consult with your doctor or pharmacist.
What Else Can I Do to Stop the Spread of Disease?
The same prevention methods work for both the flu or COVID, said Dr. Porter.
- Get a seasonal flu vaccine. Everyone in the family (over the age of 6 months) should get a vaccine, and so should anyone who cares for babies.
- Wear a mask, being sure it covers your nose and mouth snuggly.
- Wash your hands often and well, and have children do the same.
- If you’re sick, stay home from school or work.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick, if possible.
- Cover your sneezes and coughs.
Signs and Symptoms:
Seasonal flu symptoms usually come on fast, causing chills, fever, muscle aches, tiredness, dry cough, and sore throat. Occasionally, seasonal flu will cause a runny or stuffy nose or, in young children, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
How is Influenza Spread?
The flu virus prefers air travel, catching rides on the tiny droplets that fly out when someone sneezes or coughs. However, it can also stick around on surfaces for a while. If you touch something that was recently contaminated and then touch your mouth or nose, you can get infected, too. It is important to note you can spread the virus before you show signs of illness.
Where can I find a vaccine?
All Intermountain Healthcare Community Pharmacies offer the flu vaccine. For locations near you, go to their website.
For More information visit the Intermountain Healthcare website. If you or a family member is experiencing a medical emergency, dial 9-1-1.
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