Defend Yourself Against Seasonal Flu

Scott Gyorog, MD, Internist/Pediatrician at Meriter DeForest-Windsor

Are you wondering whether you should get a flu shot this year? A flu shot is recommended for everyone ages 6 months and older. If you are likely to be around children younger than 6 months, it is especially important that you get the vaccine. That’s because even though infants have a high risk for serious flu, they’re too young to be vaccinated.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has announced the three influenza viruses included in the 2011–2012 seasonal flu vaccine. The three viruses are the same ones chosen for last year’s flu vaccine. That includes the 2009 H1N1 virus.

“If you think last year’s vaccine will protect you this year, though, you’re out of luck. Immunity decreases over time, so you’ll need a new shot,” explains Scott Gyorog, MD, internal medicine and pediatric physician at Meriter DeForest-Windsor.

The best time to get your shot is September or October. But it’s never too late. Getting a shot later in the flu season, which lasts until March, can still protect you. The vaccine starts to work in about two weeks. Although it doesn’t provide 100 percent protection, it greatly reduces your chance of getting sick. And if you do get sick, your symptoms will probably be less severe.

If you get the flu, call your doctor within two days and ask if you could be prescribed an antiviral drug.

Call your doctor at once if you have:
• Fever higher than 102 degrees
• Persistent vomiting
• Very swollen glands in your neck or jaw

Flu shots are available to patients at all Meriter Medical Group clinics. Call your primary care clinic today to schedule an appointment.

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