Although it may seem early, Flu season has arrived. Each year flu vaccines are updated to better match circulating viruses due to the fact that there are many different flu viruses that are constantly changing.

We are already seeing positive flu tests in Appanoose County, making it very important to get vaccinated to protect yourself, family, and friends as soon as the vaccination is available. It is important to remember that it takes your body about two weeks after receiving the flu shot to develop antibodies to protect against the flu. While the CDC recommends that people get the flu shot by the end of October, getting vaccinated even into January or later remains beneficial.

The flu virus is a contagious respiratory illness that can strike suddenly and last for several days. Symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills, and fatigue. The flu can lead to pneumonia and blood infections and can be more dangerous for some people. People with weakened immune systems, babies and the elderly population are at the greatest risk. The flu is spread through tiny droplets expelled into the air when an infected person coughs, sneezes or even talks. Covering your cough or sneeze by using a tissue or your sleeve, frequent handwashing, and staying home when you are sick can stop the spreading of germs.

While the flu vaccine is never 100% effective in preventing flu, it can drastically reduce your chances of getting the flu, passing it on to others, and lessening the severity of symptoms if you are infected with the virus.

Flu shots are covered by most insurance plans, including Medicare Part B, and available from your Primary Care Provider and local pharmacies.

There are lots of questions regarding the flu shot. The following are some myths vs. facts about the flu shot:

Myth: “The flu shot can cause the flu.”

Fact: flu vaccine is made from a dead virus. You cannot get sick from it.

Myth: “You don’t need to get the shot every year.”

Fact: The flu virus changes every year.

Myth: “The side effects of the flu shot are worse than the flu.”

Fact: The worst side effect you a likely to get from the flu shot is a sore arm.

Myth: “You must get the flu shot before December.”

Fact: While it is best to get the flu shot as early as possible, you can get the flu shot anytime during the flu season.

To learn more about the flu virus, flu prevention and treatment, talk to your healthcare provider, local or state public health departments, or visit www.cdc.gov/flu. You can also contact Appanoose County Public Health at (641) 437-4332 for questions or to schedule a flu shot for you or if your business would like to offer flu shots to employees, we can set up a flu shot clinic tailored for you.

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