It’s Time for That Once a Year Health Prep

It’s Time for That Once a Year Health Prep

It’s time for that once a year health prep again…I mean the seasonal flu shot.  The Army Reserve orders me to ‘take my medicine’ (yes, it’s a lawful order) every year…but I’d get one anyway. In fact, I believe that the flu shot is so important that I pay for all my employees to get their flu shots as well.  Many health insurance programs pay for the entire vaccine…but even if you have to pay for it yourself…it’s a cheap prep at about $25.  You don’t even have to go to the doctor’s office to get it anymore…you can find a vaccination site near you by searching at www.flu.gov.

The shot (or nasal spray) includes the Center for Disease Control’s (CDC’s) three best guesses of the strains that your body will need help fighting off this year.  Here are some additional flu facts from the CDC:

  • The CDC recommends that everyone 6 months and older get a flu vaccine each year
  • Getting the flu vaccine is the first and most important step in flu protection
  • It’s especially important to get vaccinated if you:
    • are at high risk of developing serious complications like pneumonia
    • have certain medical conditions including asthma, diabetes, and chronic lung disease
  • are pregnant
  • Are 65 years and older.
  • The CDC recommends that people get vaccinated as soon as possible because:
    • influenza is unpredictable and can begin as early as October
    • it takes about two weeks for antibodies to develop in the body and provide protection
  • You can get your flu vaccine at:
    • doctor’s offices
    • clinics
    • health departments
    • pharmacies (this is where I went to get mine…in and out in 10 minutes)
    • student health centers at colleges and universities
    • many employers offer vaccines at the job site
  • Flu vaccines are necessary every year because flu viruses constantly change.
  • Antiviral medications aren’t an alternative to the flu vaccination but can make the symptoms milder and prevent some flu related complications.  Read more at Treatment (Antiviral Drugs).

It’s Time for That Once a Year Health Prep…go get that flu shot and you’ll be prepared…not to get the flu!

  • This year’s (2012-2013) vaccine will help protect you from the following flu strains:
    • A/California/7/2009 (H1N1)pdm09-like virus;
    • A/Victoria/361/2011 (H3N2)-like virus;
    • B/Wisconsin/1/2010-like virus (from the B/Yamagata lineage of viruses).
  • The flu vaccine is a best guess from the CDC and it’s effectiveness does vary from year to year but even if you are exposed to a different strain the antibodies may protect you.  Read more at How Well Does the Seasonal Flu Vaccine Work?
  • The CDC recommends that you talk with your doctor before getting a the flu shot if you:
    • have ever had a severe allergic reaction to eggs
    • have ever had a serious reaction to a previous flu shot
    • have ever had Guillain-Barré Syndrome (a severe paralytic illness, also called GBS) that occurred after receiving influenza vaccine.
  • have a fever
  • The flu shot is an inactivated virus and can’t give you the flu
  • Possible side effect of the flu shot include:
    • Soreness, redness, or swelling where the shot was given
    • Fever (low grade)
    • Aches
    • Toughness and itching where the shot was given
    • Allergic reactions are possible but rare
  • Talk with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist about possible side effects before getting the vaccine

Centers for Disease Control LogoAndrew’s Note:  Writing this reminder got me to thinking about calendar based preparedness.  If you have suggestions for other calendar based preparedness reminders, please use the Submit a Prep Tip Button to pass them along.  When we’ve accumulated enough to justify setting up a calendar page we’ll publish it.

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