Did you know that the influenza (flu) virus is different every year? It’s true—and it’s impossible to predict exactly what type or strain of the virus will affect the U.S. or how severe it will be.
However, there are always two things about the flu we can count on:
- The flu hits every year and spreads easily from person to person
- The best way to avoid the flu is to get an annual flu vaccine
You can get your flu vaccine today at Fast Track Urgent Care. We offer flu shots for only $19.99. Call today or stop by one of our two convenient locations to get this critical protection from the flu. You don’t need to make an appointment—just walk in!
How Long is Flu Season?
The length of flu season—the period of time during which flu activity is highest—changes from year to year, but typically starts around October or November and ends in April or May. Getting your flu shot by the end of October is recommended, but you can get vaccinated anytime during flu season! As long as you haven’t had the flu yet, it’s not too late!
Myths and Misconceptions About the Flu Vaccine
Some people avoid getting their flu shot because they’ve heard negative things about the flu vaccine. Have you heard any of these misunderstandings?
Since the flu changes every year, drug companies can’t predict what type of vaccine will work. So, the flu shot you get might not even work.
While it’s true that the virus evolves every year (and that it’s close to impossible to predict exactly which one will hit), the most educated and knowledgeable medical experts in the country overwhelmingly agree that the most effective way to avoid getting the flu, no matter what kind, is to get an annual flu vaccine.
The vaccine “is designed to protect against the main flu viruses that research suggests will be the most common during the upcoming season. Three kinds of flu viruses commonly circulate among people today: Influenza A (H1N1) viruses, influenza A (H3N2) viruses, and influenza B viruses,” says the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). In other words, although the flu virus does change every season, we know enough about the most common viruses to create an effective vaccine against them.
When it comes to avoiding the flu, it is always better to get the vaccine than to not get it.*
The flu shot gives you the flu.
This is one of the most widely believed misconceptions out there. The flu vaccine DOES NOT GIVE YOU THE FLU. The popularity of this false rumor may stem from the fact that some flu vaccines are made with inactivated—NOT infectious—flu vaccine viruses. You 100 percent cannot get the flu from this type of vaccine, or any other type of flu vaccine.
You may experience side effects after getting the vaccine that you might mistake for flu symptoms, such as:
- A low-grade fever
- Soreness at the injection spot
The flu mist vaccine may cause additional side effects. Keep in mind that these side effects are minor compared to what you experience when contracting the real flu virus.
*There are some people who should not get the flu shot, including those who are allergic to chicken eggs, have had an allergic reaction to a flu vaccine in the past, have a fever, or are less than six months old.
What Happens When You Get the Flu?
The flu is more than a cold. The flu is a respiratory illness that causes mild to severe sickness and can even lead to death. Flu symptoms may include:
- Fever or feeling feverish/having chills (the flu is often accompanied by fever, but isn’t always. You can have the flu without having a fever)
- Muscle or body aches
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Sore throat
- Vomiting and diarrhea (more common in children)
Serious complications that can develop from the flu include:
- Ear infections
- Sinus infections
It is best to avoid the flu if you can—and the best way to do that is to get vaccinated!
How to Avoid Getting the Flu During the 2014-15 Flu Season
At Fast Track Urgent Care, we recommend following the CDC’s “Take 3” approach to avoiding the flu. The main elements include:
- Getting a flu vaccine
- Taking preventative measures every day to stop the spread of germs
- Taking antiviral drugs if your doctor prescribes them
To learn more about the 2014 flu season, call Fast Track at 800-417-1164.