Arm Yourself Against the Flu by Rob Danoff, DO, MS
It’s the fifth season of the year, otherwise known as the “flu season.” This season typically runs from October through May, but may vary from year to year. Unlike the other ones, this extra season is one nobody wants to experience. The reason, high fevers, severe muscle aches, painful joints, headache, dry cough, fatigue and sore throat. Worse yet, complications related to the flu include bacterial pneumonia, dehydration and worsening of chronic medical conditions such as congestive heart failure, asthma, and diabetes. These complications lead to over 200,000 hospitalizations and 36,000 deaths each and every year.
The good news is that you don’t have to be one of these statistics. Thankfully, we have been assured by our government that we will have adequate supplies of the influenza vaccine for this year’s flu season. So, as long as you are not allergic and are able to get the vaccine, please speak to your healthcare professional regarding the flu shot. This is especially important if you fall into one of the following groups who are at a higher risk for complications related to the flu:
• Children aged 6 months until their 5th birthday
• Pregnant women
• People 50 years of age and older
• People of any age with certain chronic medical conditions (heart, lung or kidney disease, diabetes or immune compromise (cancer, HIV, on long term steroid therapy, others)
• People who live in nursing homes or other long term care facilities.
And, even if you get the flu shot, it is important to follow the hand washing suggestions as mentioned by Barbara.