So you thought because you didn’t get the flu last year, you most likely don’t need a flu shot this year. That’s when the flu season gets out of hand.
“Everybody aged six months and older needs to get the flu vaccine,” Scioto Couth Health Department Nursing Director Ruth Montavon said. “Each year the flu vaccine is made on the strains from the previous year.”
Montavon said the current vaccine is the quadravalent that has four different strains – two “A” strains and two “B” strains, meaning it offers more protection. Fluzone Quadrivalent vaccine is an inactivated quadrivalent influenza virus vaccine indicated for the prevention of influenza disease caused by influenza A subtype viruses and type B viruses contained in the vaccine.
“Even if a new strain of flu would develop, you would have some cross protection from the strains that are in this year’s flu vaccine that would help keep you out of the hospital or out of intensive care. If you did get a mild case of the flu it would be much milder,” Montavon said.
They also have the high dose flu vaccine for people over the age of 65 that has a little more because, as people age, their immune systems become weaker, so they need a little stronger vaccine.
“There’s not really any excuse not to get it unless you have had a serious life-threatening allergic reaction to the vaccine before,” Montavon said.
According to the Ohio Department of Health, seasonal influenza, also known as the flu, is an illness that causes fever, headache, tiredness, cough, sore throat, nasal congestion and body aches. It is usually spread from person to person by coughing and sneezing. Flu season in Ohio can begin as early as October and run as late as March. However, it is not uncommon for sporadic cases to appear all year long.
Most people who get the flu usually recover in one to two weeks, but the flu can be deadly. An estimated 200,000 people are hospitalized with the flu each year in the U.S. On average, it is estimated that there are more than 20,000 flu related deaths. Not all of these deaths are directly related to the flu but many are – and possibly could be prevented with a flu vaccine.
Those wishing to get a flu shot can call 740-355-8358 for an appointment, or take advantage of the Scioto County Health Department’s walk-in clinics from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
“Most all physicians carry the flu vaccines if they can get in to see their primary care physician,” Montavon said. “Pharmacies are giving vaccines also, so there is not any shortage of flu vaccine.”
Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.