Influenza season is on its way

With influenza season right around the corner, the healthcare community and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) encourage people to get vaccinated for the virus. Although a stomach bug is often mistaken for being ‘the flu,’ influenza is actually a serious and contagious respiratory virus. It is important to recognize the symptoms.

Know the symptoms...

  • fever or feeling feverish/chills
  • cough
  • sore throat
  • runny or stuffy nose
  • muscle or body aches
  • headaches
  • nausea
  • fatigue (tiredness)

Receiving an influenza vaccine is the first and most important step in protecting yourself against the virus. To help stop the spread of influenza and other diseases, the CDC suggests also taking a number of precautions.

Stop the spread...

  • If you are sick with a flu-like illness, stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone without the use of fever-reducing medicine.
  • Practice proper cough and sneeze etiquette to prevent the spread of germs. If you need to sneeze or cough, do so into a tissue or into your upper sleeve or elbow, not in your hands.
  • Wash your hands regularly.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently-touched surfaces at home, work or school, especially when someone is ill.
  • If you do come down with influenza, there are antiviral medications that may make your illness more mild, and may help you feel better faster. The medicine needs to be started within 48 hours of when your symptoms first begin, so be sure to act quickly!

Understand the vaccine…
Flu vaccines cannot cause the flu. The viruses found in vaccines are either killed or weakened. Vaccines are safe, and serious problems from the flu vaccine are very rare. The most common side effect that is reported is soreness at the injection site, which only lasts for a few days.

Even with the vaccine, there is still a chance that you could get sick with influenza. There are several reasons for why this can happen.

It takes about two weeks for the influenza vaccine to take effect. During that time, or shortly before you received the vaccine, you may have been exposed to an influenza virus. If you were exposed, this could result in you becoming ill with influenza before the vaccine begins to protect you. Also, the vaccination does not protect you from every possible strain of virus that is out there. You can become sick if you are exposed to an influenza virus that is not included in the seasonal flu vaccine.

The influenza virus changes constantly from year to year, and also can change within the course of one flu season. Before the influenza season arrives each year, experts pick which strains of the virus to include in the next year’s vaccine. Since this is done months in advance, it is not possible to predict which influenza strain will be most active during the upcoming season. It’s possible, then, that the produced vaccine won’t completely protect against all strains of the influenza virus that are circulating during the influenza season.

The protection provided by influenza vaccinations can vary widely, due to each person’s health, age and other factors. In general, the vaccine works best among young, healthy adults and older children. Influenza vaccination is not a perfect tool, but it is the best one currently available to prevent influenza. However, if a vaccinated person does come down with influenza, it is likely that he or she will have a less severe case of influenza, thanks to the vaccination.

Get vaccinated…
If you would like to schedule an appointment to see a healthcare provider, or want to receive your influenza vaccine, call your local Mile Bluff facility using the numbers below.

  • Delton Family Medical Center - 608-254-5888
  • Elroy Family Medical Center - 608-462-8466
  • Mile Bluff Clinic - 608-847-5000
  • Necedah Family Medical Center - 608-565-2000
  • New Lisbon Family Medical Center - 608-562-3111
  • Phillips Pharmacy - 608-847-5949