Every year, I get a flu shot in late October. I usually remind my clients that they should wait until Halloween to get their flu shot, too. I get vaccinated every year to avoid contracting the flu virus, and also to avoid accidentally infecting my elderly mother, my friends, and my clients. You may just think the flu is a nuisance virus, but getting the flu can be hazardous to your health and to those you love.
For those with weakened immune systems (specifically children and the elderly), the flu can literally be a life or death situation. On average, 4,000 to 50,000 human lives are taken by the influenza virus on a yearly basis. Only 40% of Americans get the flu shot on a regular basis, leaving a majority of the population open to contracting the virus. The most common myth is that “getting the flu shot will give you the flu,” but flu vaccinations are made of inactive flu strains and are not infectious.
Flu-related complications are more common in children, pregnant women, asthmatics, elderly people, and those with diabetes or heart disease are at a higher risk based on their compromised immune systems. The Center for Disease Control recommends that everyone that is 6 months of age or older should receive a flu vaccination before flu season hits their community, preferably getting the vaccine by the end of October.
When you receive the vaccination, you are not only protecting just yourself from contracting the influenza virus, you are also protecting others against the transmission of the flu. Best practices during flu season include:
—Avoid sick people as much as possible
—When sick, avoid healthy people
—If you are sick, stay home for 24 hours after your fever has subsided
—Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you sneeze
—Wash hands often with soap and water
—Avoid touching eyes, nose, and mouth to avoid the spread of germs from other surfaces around you
—Clean any surfaces you touch with disinfectant
These simple steps will help you avoid the flu and avoid possibly getting someone else sick! Stay healthy this flu season.