Published: Thu, October 11, 2018
Medicine | By Daryl Nelson

Flu season on the horizon

Flu season on the horizon

To protect your health and those around you - loved ones, friends, co-workers - please take the preventive step of getting your flu shot this season.

A year ago the Middletown Health Department had to hold an emergency flu clinic after an aggressive season.

The flu shot is approved for use in people 6 months of age and older, including healthy people and people with chronic medical conditions.

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"I feel like a flu shot is an insurance", she said.

Manitobans are once again being encouraged to get a flu shot this season. "Still, I would say flu mist vaccine for somebody that would not receive any vaccine (otherwise) would be a great idea".

For older recipients, recent studies indicate getting a flu shot helps ward off heart attacks - as much so as taking blood pressure prescriptions or stopping smoking.

Scientists develop vaccine strains based on the versions of the virus they think are most likely to show up that particular season.

These groups are at particular risk from flu and vaccination is the best protection we have against an unpredictable virus. Although 90 percent of last year's flu victims were over the age of 65, the sickness still managed to kill 180 children and teenagers, which is still a record high count according to the Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention (CDC). A flu shot is recommended every year, with the onset of fall to the end of October.

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While everyone should get a flu vaccine each flu season, it's especially important that certain people, especially older individuals, get vaccinated either because they are at high risk of having serious flu-related complications or because they live with, or care for, people at high risk for developing flu-related complications. "The flu vaccine is free for those most at risk, so if that's you make an appointment to receive the vaccine as soon as possible".

"We saw one of our most severe flu seasons last winter", says Webster.

"We can stomp out the flu, or limit its opportunity to spread, if everyone gets the flu vaccine", said Richard Lockwood, M.D., vice president and chief medical officer, Excellus BlueCross BlueShield.

The Flu Pandemic of 1918 wiped out nearly 40 million people worldwide including almost 1 million Americans.

"We want to get the word out that the flu is not bad", Webb-Collins said.

One of the most pervasive myths about the flu shot is that getting it can actually cause you to get the flu.

"We're not talking about the hundreds of cases that were diagnosed imperically, which means you walked in with flu symptoms and your health care provider diagnosed you with the flu without lab confirmation", said Mansourian-Christakos.

Bhardwaj encouraged expectant mothers, people who can not afford to get sick, seniors or people who work with seniors, people with compromised immune systems or chronic conditions and people who are at a higher risk to contract the flu to get their flu shots as soon as possible.

"Cover your cough, and if you're sick, stay home", said Mansourian-Christakos.

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