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Your best shot. The flu vaccine could save your life

Every season flu sickens millions of Americans, hospitalizes hundreds of thousands, and kills tens of thousands. The 2017-2018 flu season was the most severe in a decade. While only moderate in severity, the 2018-2019 season was record-breaking in duration, with flu activity remaining elevated for 21 weeks. The U.S. had two different waves of flu, the first caused by H1N1 viruses and the second caused by H3N2 viruses.

Flu vaccine is the best way to prevent flu and its potentially serious complications. Last season, more than 169 million doses of flu vaccine were distributed; the most ever distributed. On September 26, the CDC released a report detailing flu vaccination coverage among the public and health care providers.

While most cases of the flu are not life-threatening — it usually just makes people feel lousy and miss school or work for up to a week — the virus is unpredictable and can make previously healthy children and adults very sick, often suddenly. For young children, seniors, pregnant women, and people with chronic or serious medical conditions, the flu is an even bigger threat. That’s why an annual influenza vaccine is recommended for everyone over 6 months of age.

Fall is the official start of flu season, and the vaccine will be available at all UHS Primary Care locations beginning in September. The vaccine changes every year to target the specific influenza viruses that are predicted to be most widespread, which is why a new shot is needed each year. Your flu shot not only protects you, but also everyone around you. While the flu shot will be available throughout the flu season, the sooner you get yours, the sooner you will be protected.

“We do everything we can to make it easy for our patients to get the vaccine,” says Bridget Talbut, RN, and director of Clinical Services at UHS. “It’s the first step in keeping our community healthy."

While the vaccine is the best way to prevent the flu, there are other everyday actions you can take to help keep from getting sick and stop the spread of germs:

  • Avoid contact with those who are sick.
  • Stay home if you suspect you’re sick, get plenty of sleep and drink plenty of fluids.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water frequently.
  • Disinfect frequently touched surfaces.
  • Cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing.

To get a flu shot, call your UHS Primary Care provider’s office. You may also ask to receive the vaccine at an already-scheduled appointment with your PCP. Schedule your flu shot today!

Common flu symptoms

  • Fever and/or chills
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Muscle/body aches
  • Fatigue
  • Vomiting/diarrhea

The flu generally comes on suddenly, within hours. Most people experience mild symptoms of the flu, but if you’re in a high-risk group or your symptoms worsen, contact your health care provider immediately.

2018–2019 national vaccination rates

  • Children 6 months to 17 years: 62.6% 
  • Adults 18-49 years: 34.9%
  • Adults 50–64 years: 47.3%
  • Adults 65 years and over: 68.1%

For additional information, call your primary care provider.

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