Answers to Your Questions About the Flu

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By Jennifer Stratton, RN, BSN

October 9, 2016

Things you should know about the Influenza (Flu) Season

What is influenza? The flu is a contagious respiratory virus.

What are the signs and symptoms? Fever, chills, body aches, fatigue, cough, sore throat, headache, runny or stuffy nose. You do not have to have all these symptoms to have the flu.

How can you protect yourself? The most important step is to get a yearly flu shot.  Cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze. Frequent hand washing helps decrease the spread of germs.

Who is at high-risk? Influenza can affect all age groups and populations. Those individuals who have a chronic condition (such as asthma, lung disease, heart disease and diabetes), children under 5, adults 65 and older, pregnant women, and residents of long-term care facilities are at the greatest risk of developing complications associated with this disease. Complications (such as pneumonia or worsening of existing lung or heart conditions) can lead to an unexpected visit to the doctor, emergency room, and even hospitalization if not treated.

Why should I get a flu shot? The vaccine aides in the prevention of illness, which may lead to hospitalization. The vaccine also decreases missed days from work.

Who should get a flu shot? It is recommended for all ages 6 months and above, including pregnant women.

When should I get vaccinated? The sooner you receive the vaccine, the better. Flu season begins in September and continues until there are no further reported cases, as late as May. Another reason to get the flu shot soon is that it takes two weeks after being vaccinated for your body to respond in full.

Where can I get the flu vaccine? The vaccine is available at your physician or medical provider’s office, health department, and local pharmacies.  The flu shot is offered here through Trinity Medical Group and in the WorkCare department for our area workforce employers and their staff.

What are the side effects? Side effects are typically mild and include soreness at the site given, low grade fever, and body aches. The vaccine does not cause flu illness.

To obtain your flu shot through Trinity Medical group call 740-922-0000. If you would like the flu shot for your company or business call 740-922-7401. For more information about our WorkCare occupational health services, click here.

Jennifer Stratton, RN, BSN, is WorkCare Supervisor for Trinity Hospital Twin City.

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