Every year 5 to 20 percent of Americans get the seasonal flu, and more than 200,000 people end up in the hospital due to flu complications. That’s according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Medical experts say that getting vaccinated is the best way to avoid the flu and stay healthy.
It’s never been easier to get your flu shot. If you already have a scheduled appointment with your doctor, ask to get your flu vaccination during your visit. Vaccines are also available at most big-box pharmacies and some large retail outlets.
If you are a patient of the Palo Alto Medical Foundation, there is a Saturday Flu Express at the Dublin Center, 4050 Dublin Blvd., on November 3 from 8 a.m. until noon. (FluMist nasal spray vaccines will be also be offered.)
There are many questions around the flu and who should and shouldn’t get this seasonal inoculation. The Palo Alto Medical Foundation has a useful “frequently asked questions” flu section on its website covering topics, such as:
- Who is considered “high risk” from the flu?
- Children and flu vaccine
- Pregnancy and the flu
- High-dose flu vaccine for people 65 and older
- When should you call your doctor?
- How to care for yourself or others with the flu
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) now recommends that everyone over six months of age get the flu vaccine. Currently, there have been no reported problems with flu vaccine production, and they expect that everyone who wants it will be able to get a flu vaccine this season.
Even after you get your flu shot, you should still protect yourself from flu germs. Avoid close contact with people who are sick. Wash your hands often and every time that you sneeze or touch someone who is sick. Parents and caregivers can't help but touch the person they are tending like children, so hand washing is all the more important to keep from spreading germs.
Flu season or not, make health and wellness part of every day - exercise, eat nutritious food, stay hydrated and get a good night’s sleep.