It is Flu Shot Time!
By Kathy Ferguson, RN, Parish Nurse
Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well. 3 John 1:2
September is already here—where did the summer go? What do you think about when you think about fall? Falling leaves? Beautiful colors? A nip in the air? I think about all of these. Fall is my favorite season! However, I think about flu shots too—after all, I am a nurse. This year HyVee will again be providing flu shots at Bethel. Feel free to stop in the church office on Sunday, September 29, between 10:00 a.m. and noon to receive your flu shot. Bring proof of insurance to the event: Medicare Part B and Medicare Part D and/or commercial insurance cards. The vaccine is free of charge for Medicare patients. The HyVee pharmacist will be providing the vaccine on a first-come, first-serve basis to anyone over 6 years of age. Last year 49 vaccines were administered in 2 hours!
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides information each year about influenza and the vaccine. Here is some information from the CDC website https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/keyfacts.htm about this year’s vaccine:
What is Influenza (Flu)?
Flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat, and sometimes the lungs. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. The best way to prevent flu is by getting a flu vaccine each year.
Flu is different from a cold. It usually comes on suddenly. People who are sick with flu often feel some or all of these symptoms:
Fever or feeling feverish/chills
Runny or stuffy nose
Muscle or body aches
Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults.
How Flu Spreads
Most experts believe that flu viruses spread mainly by tiny droplets made when people with flu cough, sneeze or talk. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby. Less often, a person might get flu by touching a surface or object that has flu virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose or possibly their eyes.
Period of Contagiousness
You may be able to pass on flu to someone else before you know you are sick, as well as while you are sick.
People with flu are most contagious in the first 3-4 days after their illness begins.
Some otherwise healthy adults may be able to infect others beginning 1 day before symptoms develop and up to 5 to 7 days after becoming sick.
Some people, especially young children and people with weakened immune systems, might be able to infect others with flu viruses for an even longer time.
Onset of Symptoms
The time from when a person is exposed and infected with flu to when symptoms begin is about 2 days, but can range from about 1 to 4 days.
Why get vaccinated?
Influenza vaccine can prevent influenza (flu). Flu vaccine prevents millions of illnesses and flu-related visits to the doctor each year.
Flu is a contagious disease that spreads around the United States every year, usually between October and May. Anyone can get the flu, but it is more dangerous for some people. Infants and young children, people 65 years of age and older, pregnant women, and people with certain health conditions or a weakened immune system are at greatest risk of flu complications.
Pneumonia, bronchitis, sinus infections and ear infections are examples of flu-related complications. If you have a medical condition, such as heart disease, cancer or diabetes, flu can make it worse.
Flu can cause fever and chills, sore throat, muscle aches, fatigue, cough, headache, and runny or stuffy nose. Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults.
CDC recommends everyone 6 months of age and older get vaccinated every flu season. Children 6 months through 8 years of age may need 2 doses during a single flu season. Everyone else needs only 1 dose each flu season. It takes about 2 weeks for protection to develop after vaccination.
There are many flu viruses, and they are always changing. Each year a new flu vaccine is made to protect against three or four viruses that are likely to cause disease in the upcoming flu season. Even when the vaccine doesn’t exactly match these viruses, it may still provide some protection.
Talk with your health care provider
If you are not sure if you should receive the vaccine, talk to your health care provider.
Tell your vaccine provider if the person getting the vaccine:
Has had an allergic reaction after a previous dose of influenza vaccine, or has any severe, life-threatening allergies.
Has ever had Guillain-Barré Syndrome (also called GBS)
People with minor illnesses, such as a cold, may be vaccinated. People who are moderately or severely ill should usually wait until they recover before getting influenza vaccine.
Risks of a reaction
Soreness, redness, and swelling where shot is given, fever, muscle aches, and headache can happen after influenza vaccine. There may be a very small increased risk of Guillain-Barré Syndrome (GBS) after receiving the flu shot. As with any medicine, there is a very remote chance of a vaccine causing a severe allergic reaction. Influenza vaccine does not cause flu.
Take the opportunity to protect yourself from the flu this year. Get your flu shot at Bethel on September 29.