Fall means the dreaded ‘flu season’ is upon us

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A flu shot is the best way to prevent serious illness

SEATTLE — Along with stormy weather, heavy rain and high winds, the change in seasons also means it’s time for people to get the flu shot. Group Health, along with the CDC, recommends a flu shot for anyone 6 months of age or older. The adv ice also applies to people living in Canada.

“A flu shot is the very best thing we’ve got to prevent influenza,” said Dr. John Dunn, Assistant Medical Director for Preventative Care and the 2016 Washington State Childhood Immunization Champion for the Centers for Disease Control.  “A flu shot is the best way to help yourself and your family, friends and loved ones stay healthy this winter.”

Group Health Tips for Flu Prevention:

  • Get a flu vaccine. If you’re older than 6 months, a flu shot is the best prevention tool there is to help avoid getting seriously ill.
  • Stay home if you’re not feeling well.
  • Wash your hands often.
  • Use alcohol-based hand sanitizers.
  • Cover your mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, and throw the tissue into the trash after you use it. Or cough into your elbow (not your hands).
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. Germs are spread this way.
  • Eat healthy foods and get plenty of rest and physical activity.
  • Avoid close contact with sick people.
  • Contact a doctor if you’re not getting better.

Common Flu Myths:
Myth: Influenza is a minor illness.
Truth: According to the CDC, influenza and its complications caused from 3,000 to 49,000 deaths each year from 1976 to 2006 in the United States.

Myth: The vaccine causes the flu.
Truth: You can’t get the flu by having a flu shot. The flu shot is made of killed virus and therefore cannot cause the flu. And the weakened viruses in the flu nasal spray vaccine can cause symptoms similar to a cold, but they can’t cause the flu.

Myth: The vaccine causes unpleasant side effects.
Truth: The vaccine causes no side effects in most people. Earlier vaccines (1940s to 1960s) did have more unpleasant side effects, but this is rare now. And an intradermal flu shot is available. A smaller needle is used, and the vaccine is injected into the skin instead of the muscle to reduce discomfort at the time of the shot.

Myth: The vaccine is ineffective because some people had a flu-like illness after getting a flu vaccine.
Truth: Although getting the vaccine prevents most people from becoming ill with the flu, some people still become infected. This may occur because a person is exposed to the virus before getting a vaccination or before it has taken effect, or because the vaccine does not match the circulating virus closely enough. A mild illness similar to a cold also can be caused by the live, weakened viruses in the influenza nasal spray vaccine. But any illness is usually milder than it would be without having had the vaccine. –  USNewswire.

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