By Carolina Boyd
If you’ve been to the doctor lately, chances are your health care provider has asked if you’ve gotten a flu shot yet. There is good reason for that. The flu virus is most active during the fall and winter months. Flu season usually begins in October and peaks between December and February, so now is a good time to get your flu shot.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that anyone over the age of six months get a flu shot every year, unless recommended otherwise by a medical professional. People at especially high risk for the flu include:
- Adults 65 years and older
- Children under the age of 2
- Pregnant women
- Residents of nursing homes or other long term facilities
- People with pre-existing conditions (heart disease, asthma and diabetes)
- Patients with weakened immune systems due to medications or illnesses
The CDC estimates that almost 43 million people contracted the flu during the 2018-2019 season. Around half a million of them were hospitalized and as many as 61,000 died from the disease. The best way to protect yourself against the flu is to make sure you get a flu shot. Each year the flu vaccine is updated to better match whatever virus is circulating around that year.
In addition to the flu vaccine, other ways to reduce the risk for the flu are frequent hand washing, covering your mouth when coughing, and avoiding people who are sick.
The most common symptoms of the flu include fever, chills, muscle/body aches, fatigue and headache. Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea but that is more common in children than adults. If you suspect you or your child may have the flu, seek medical attention.
Legacy Community Health offers flu vaccines, as well as other immunization services. Call 832-548-5000 to schedule an appointment.