It is that time of year, again. Leaves change color, cool air creeps in, rain greets the pavement, and sometimes viruses spread from person to person. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the flu season increases in October, peaks in December and February, lingers around as late as May, but the viruses can be detected all year.
Are you prepared? Hamilton Community Health Network has flu vaccines available now, so you can avoid the trouble.
“The CDC is predicting that the flu vaccine is going to be 36-percent effective,” says Mary Sabo, Family Nurse Practitioner at Hamilton’s Clio Clinic.
This year’s quadrivalent flu vaccine is made up of one strain from Colorado, two strains from Asian countries, and the last strain from Michigan’s H1N1 virus from 2015. As usual, the CDC is recommending that people know how to take steps to prevent contracting the flu.
“They’re saying the number one step is to get vaccinated. Make sure that you practice good hand washing techniques. Also, avoid people that are known to be ill at the time,” explains Sabo. “Be extra cautious.”
Sabo says those who are more prevalent to catching the flu are the very young and elderly, as well as people who have a lot of comorbidities. This includes people with chronic medical conditions like diabetics, asthmatics, people with heart disease and pregnant women. The CDC recommends that children get the flu vaccine as young as six months.
“When children between the ages of six months and eight years of age get their first flu vaccination, they’ll need to get two,” says Sabo. “They’ll get one, and then four weeks later they can get the second one, so that they have the complete immunity. It’s yearly after that.”
The flu vaccine also helps prevent other respiratory-borne illnesses that could develop due to the virus. For example, bacterial pneumonia, sinusitis, and ear infections.
“These illnesses can feed off the influenza virus itself,” explains Sabo. “You can get these illnesses during or after the flu process.”
Even if you have chronic sinusitis already, or you get pneumonia frequently, Sabo still recommends that you get the flu vaccine.
“You could be more predisposed to the flu if you haven’t been vaccinated. This is due to the contents of the vaccine itself.”
Sabo says it is best to educate yourself on the flu and the vaccination. You can find more information on the “Influenza” page on the CDC’s website.
Mary Sabo, FNP-C works at Hamilton Community Health Network’s clinic in Clio. It is located at 4154 W. Vienna Road.
If you are in need of getting a flu shot, call 810-406-4246 to make your appointment at one of our clinics.