Influenza is a respiratory infection that produces fever, chills, sore throat, muscle aches, and cough. Symptoms can last a week or more and can be deadly for the elderly and those with compromised immune systems. According to the CDC, up to 20% of Americans get the flu each year. The influenza vaccine is the best way to prevent the flu and is thought to be 70 to 80 percent effective in temporarily preventing the flu of the season in healthy persons less than 65 years old.
• The traditional flu shot, which is administered at the Neighborhood Health Clinic, is an inactivated virus and cannot cause the flu.
• Flu shots work by causing antibodies to develop in your body. These antibodies provide protection against infection from the flu virus. This antibody reaction may cause fatigue and muscle aches.
• The flu shot is highly recommended for certain high-risk individuals which includes health care workers.
“We are not talking about the common cold”, warns Dr. Tober. Confusing the common cold with influenza is a typical misconception with the general public. Influenza is a contagious respiratory infection that can be deadly to certain high-risk individuals.
The Neighborhood Health Clinic has been offering free flu shots for volunteers and patients since September. October and November are considered the optimal time to get vaccinated because flu season may begin as early as October and run through May. However, it is not too late to get vaccinated. If you haven’t received your flu shot, please check in with one of the nurses at the Neighborhood Health Clinic the next time you are in to volunteer.