Monday, October 18, 2010

Allergy Season and Flu Vaccines

Allergy season is winding down, thank goodness, but flu season is right around the corner!

If you have not already received your influenza vaccine this year, now is a great time to get one. Many drug stores and discount department stores are providing affordable flu vaccines in places where you likely already shop! Convenience, too!

Who can benefit from a flu vaccine? Everyone!

Any person with a chronic medical condition, not just a disease affecting the lungs, needs a flu vaccine. "Comorbid conditions" as it is called, increase a person's susceptibility to worse side effects from an influenza infection.

Others at risk of worse side effects include young children. They have smaller airways and they can succumb very quickly to infections.

Adults caring for children are at higher risk of catching the flu because they are more likely exposed to greater numbers of infected people, AND they can readily spread the flu to other small children.

Residents of a facility that house multiple unrelated people (i.e., nursing homes, apartment buildings, mental health facilities, prisons, etc.) also pose risks due to the increased chance that one or more of the residents will have the flu. In addition, the closer quarters increase the likelihood of being close enough to someone to catch the flu who has already been infected.

Even otherwise healthy people benefit from vaccination. Who does not have family members in school, loved ones with a chronic health condition, or family members in nursing homes? No one wants to be the reason another person gets sick.

Finally, the flu vaccine can not only decrease the likelihood of getting the flu, it can decrease the severity of illness should you get the flu. This can decrease the number of days missed from school or work (or play).

Do yourself and your family and friends a favor. Get the flu vaccine. You'll be glad you did!

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