Next month marks the start of flu season. In the United States alone, more than 200,000 people are hospitalized each year due to the influenza virus. The Neighborhood Health Clinic offers free flu shots to all of its patients and volunteers to help minimize the hospitalizations and the spread of the virus.
Although the general public is encouraged to receive flu vaccinations, people in close living accommodations and who work (or volunteer) in a health care facility are at a higher risk for contracting the flu. Since there are constant mutations of the virus, it is recommended that everyone receives an annual vaccination.
One of the most common misconceptions is that people believe they can get the flu from the shot. However, the shots only contain inactive strains of the virus; therefore, it is impossible to contract the flu from a vaccination. If you are feeling sick, it is encouraged that you remain at home to prevent further infection to your coworkers and friends. Also, to prevent the spread of the virus, the Clinic encourages everyone to wash their hands frequently and receive their annual flu shot.
“Please know that getting a flu shot does not mean that you cannot catch a bad cold virus or case of influenza,” says Dr. Tober, the Neighborhood Health Clinic’s Medical Director. “The virus sometimes changes so fast that the flu shot that we all receive may or may not protect us but it is the only protection we have right now other than good personal hygiene which includes covering your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze, trying to eat a healthy diet and get enough sleep.”