Your best shot--the flu vaccine could save your life
During the 2016–2017 flu season, more than 100 influenza deaths in children were reported to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Of these children, an estimated 80 to 85 percent had not received an annual flu vaccine. Further, an April 2017 study by the CDC found that flu vaccination reduced the risk of death from influenza among healthy children by 65 percent. For children with underlying medical conditions, the risk was reduced by 51 percent. This data supports many years of studies demonstrating that the flu vaccine saves lives in children and adults.
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
Runny or stuffy nose
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.
2016–2017 national vaccination rates
· Children 6 months to 17 years: 49.9%
· Adults 18-49 years: 31.8%
· Adults 50–64 years: 45.2%
· Adults 65 years and over: 67.2%
For additional information, call your primary care provider or visit nyuhs.org.