An annual flu vaccination is the best way to prevent the flu and the flu-related complications that could lead to hospitalization and even death. Health experts across the country recommend that everyone 6 months and older get a flu vaccine. This recommendation has been in place by the CDC since 2010.
While influenza isn’t particularly dangerous for most people, it can cause severe illness and serious complications for anyone, regardless of whether or not they have high risk conditions. In fact, influenza is among the most common respiratory illnesses in the U. S., infecting millions every flu season.
Every year, flu spreads across the country, from person to person, family to family, and community to community. When a person coughs, infected droplets get into the air and another person can breathe them in and become exposed. The virus can also be spread by hands infected with the virus. Influenza spreads easily and quickly.
Seasonal flu is characterized by a sudden onset of high fever, dry cough, headache, muscle and joint pain, severe malaise, sore throat and runny nose. Most people recover from the flu within a week without requiring medical attention. But influenza can cause severe illness or death in people at high risk: children younger than age two, adults age 65 or older, people with certain medical conditions, such as chronic health, lung, kidney, liver, blood, or metabolic disease ( e.g. diabetes ), or weakened immune systems. The time from infection to illness, known as the incubation period, is about two days.
Among healthy adults, influenza vaccine can prevent 70-90% of flu-specific illness. Among the elderly, the vaccine reduces severe illnesses and complications by up to 60%.
Three Things Everyone Should Do
Dr. Frank James, San Juan County Health Department’s Health Officer, states,
First, get vaccinated. Almost everyone over 6 months of age should get a flu shot. It will protect against several different strains of the flu that circulate in the fall and winter each year.
Second, take action to prevent the spread of the flu. Avoid contact with those who are sick, stay home if you are sick until 24 hours after your fever is gone, cover your cough, and wash your hands frequently.
Third, if you do get the flu, see your doctor, who may prescribe antivirals.
UPCOMING ADULT FLU CLINICS
Orcas Senior Center - October 11
from 10:30 am to 2:30 pm
Mullis Senior Center - October 23
from 1 to 4 pm (sponsored by San Juan Health Care)
Lopez Senior Center - October 31
from 11 am to -2 pm
Schools in the San Juan County School District will be offering Flu Clinics to children and staff, also. More adult Flu Clinic locations will be announced throughout the month of October.
San Juan Healthcare offers walk-in flu vaccination clincs from 2 to 4:30 p.m. Wednesdays in October at San Juan Healthcare's office at 689 Airport Center Road in Friday Harbor. Please note the October 23 clinic takes place from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Mullis Center on Nash Street in Friday Harbor. Flu shots will be available by appointment only outside of the Walk in Clinics. Call San Juan Healthcare at 360.378.1338 for more information.