As the weather starts to cool and we transition from fall to winter, it’s important to remember that we are well into the fall influenza season. The following are some of the key ways to protect yourself and your community against the flu this flu season.
Get Your Annual Flu Vaccine
The single most effective protection against flu is getting a flu vaccine. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend that all individuals 6 months of age and older receive the flu vaccine each year, as long as they do not have a contraindication. This is key to ensuring optimal protection for the upcoming flu season because circulating flu viruses can change season to season and the body’s response to prior flu vaccinations also decreases over time. It can take a couple of weeks for the flu vaccine to become effective, so the best time to get vaccinated is before the start of the flu season. Some of the common side effects of the flu shot include soreness and redness at the injection site. It’s also possible to have muscle aches or a low-grade fever after receiving the flu shot. It is not possible to get the flu from the flu shot.
Some people that are thinking about getting the flu shot may have concerns about its effectiveness and that they may still get the flu even though they received the shot. An important thing to remember is that although the effectiveness of the flu shot varies from year to year, studies have shown that getting the flu vaccine reduces the severity of illness and complications from the flu in people that still get the flu even though they were vaccinated. Getting the annual flu vaccine is the best way to protect yourself against severe illness and complications from the flu.
Practice Common Everyday Prevention Measures
Flu is mainly spread from person to person through droplets generated when a sick individual sneezes, coughs, or talks. To help reduce to spread of the flu, remember to take common everyday prevention measures: wash your hands, cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue or your elbow if a tissue isn’t available, and clean high touch surfaces that may be contaminated with the flu virus.
Stay Home While You’re Sick
People sick with the flu are generally the most contagious during the first few days of illness. To help prevent the spread of the flu, the CDC recommends staying home, unless seeking medical care or other necessities, for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone without the aid of fever-reducing medications.
If you haven’t already gotten your flu shot, we still have vaccines available! Please call the Montgomery Township Health Department (908) 359-8211 to schedule your appointment today!