It’s that time of year again, flu season. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, flu season can span between October and March with outbreaks peaking generally in January or later. In an effort to minimize an influenza outbreak, health care providers recommend yearly vaccinations.
The CDC explains that the flu is a contagious respiratory disease that can lead to serious complications, hospitalization or even death. Anyone can get the flu including healthy children and adults. The illness is quickly spread from one person to another. Therefore, vaccination is the single best way to protect against the flu.
Because various strains of flu exist, combination vaccines have been created and are easily available through health care providers. The most common combination vaccine fights against the common flu and H1N1 (swine flu) virus.
CDC officials recommend that people with certain medical conditions including asthma, diabetes and chronic lung disease receive a flu shot annually. Pregnant women, children younger than five years old and adults 65 years and older should also receive the flu vaccine.
According to CDC statistics, thousands of people die each year in the United States from the flu and many more are hospitalized. The virus is easily spread by coughing, sneezing and close contact with others. Flu symptoms include fever, chills, sore throat, muscle aches, fatigue, cough, headache and runny or stuffy nose. The CDC advises that the best protection from the flu and its complications is a vaccine.
Many health insurance companies cover annual flu vaccines. For those without medical coverage, clinics provide flu shots throughout the local area at a reduced cost. It is best to contact insurance companies directly to find out whether the vaccine is covered prior to visiting a health care provider.
Doctor offices, pharmacies and home health care agencies all provide flu vaccines locally. For more information regarding clinic hours and vaccine prices, contact the health care provider directly.