Don’t delay, get a flu shot today

Flu vaccinations protect you and your family.

Don’t delay, get a flu shot today

Getting a flu shot is the best way to protect yourself and your loved ones from a potentially serious illness. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) strongly suggest an annual flu vaccination for individuals age six months and older. Even if you are generally very healthy and recover quickly when you have an illness such as a cold or the flu, family members and others with whom you have contact may be at risk.

Influenza (flu) is a contagious respiratory disease infecting the nose, throat and lungs. Complications can occur following onset from less serious sinus and ear infections to more serious bronchitis and pneumonia. Pregnant women, children younger than five and adults over 65 are also considered at greater high risk for developing flu-related complications. Individuals with chronic health issues including diabetes, asthma or heart disease should consider receiving the annual vaccine as a way to decrease chances of worsening these conditions.

It takes one to four days after the flu virus enters your body for symptoms to appear. Even though a person may not yet exhibit symptoms and realize they have the flu, the virus can be passed to others beginning one day before symptoms develop and up to five to seven days afterwards.

An infected individual can spread the droplet by coughing or sneezing. These droplets might land in the mouth or nose of a nearby person and could be inhaled into their lungs. Touching a surface or object that has flu virus on it and then touching your mouth or nose is a less common way to contract the virus.

Clearly, it is very important to stay away from anyone who has the flu. It goes without saying that infected individuals should avoid close contact with others and definitely stay home from work or school. Washing hands often with soap and water, or alcohol-based hand rub if soap and water are not available, is highly recommended for all. If a family member is ill with the flu, make sure to wash their bed linens and towels, eating utensils and dishes before they are used by others. Surfaces and objects that they may have frequently touched should also been cleaned with disinfectant. If the person has been at a work or school while ill with the flu, it is advisable to similarly disinfect surfaces and objects they likely touched at those locations, too.

Flu vaccines have been safely administered for more than 50 years to hundreds of millions of people.. Vaccine safety is closely monitored by the CDC and U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Flu vaccines will not give you the flu. The injection site may be sore for a day or so. You may have a low fever or achiness. Individuals who receive the nasal spray vaccine may have some congestion, runny nose, sore throat, or cough. Again, these mild symptoms are not flu and do not last long.

To learn more about maintaining your health and the health of family members, visit the Michigan State University Extension website. If you cannot find the answer to your question in the many informative articles posted online, you may want to contact your local Extension office or consult an expert at MSU Extension or at one of the many other Extension universities located throughout the country. 

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