October is a month that is filled with lots of fall activities, but one of the most important things that you can do this fall is get your flu shot.
From aching muscles, to the chills and high fevers, the flu is not an illness to play around with. In fact, doctors and pharmacists are increasing opportunities to get your flu shot by setting up mobile clinics in businesses and offering incentives for getting your flu shot.
Crockett Tidwell, clinical services manager of United Supermarkets Pharmacy, said last year was the worst flu season in 40 years. The high number of deaths reaffirms the importance of the flu shot.
“Part of what we do for our community is travel around to businesses because convenience equals better acceptance of the vaccine,” Tidwell said. “As you know if somebody’s at your business and giving flu shots, then most of the time it’s going to be free to you. More people are gonna get vaccinated, and that’s how we’re gonna protect everybody is we vaccinate so many people that the flu virus can’t go from person to person.”
There are several myths around the flu shot, including whether the flu shot can give you the flu.
The answer is no, Dr. Brian Schroeder, chief medical officer of Covenant Health, said.
“Here’s why: if a virus is this piece of protein like a circle, what the flu vaccine is a part of that. And so, the vaccine is made up of just a part of the virus and as it’s injected into you, your body recognizes this foreign substance. It’s an incomplete protein and cannot cause you to get the flu. It does mount a response against that one small part. Now, if you get a flu shot and 24 to 48 hours later you feel a little muscle ache and pain a little bit mild fever, that’s actually normal. You’re not getting the flu, what you’re having is a mild reaction to the vaccine that is, in essence, your body is making a response to prevent you from getting sick later on down in the year,” Schroeder said.
Now that we are already in the month of October, the flu season is already upon us.
“The Flublok (vaccine) is made with some new technology that we’ve never used for the flu vaccine before. The new technology makes it a more pure form of vaccine, which makes it be more effective in everybody. Also it’s got three times the dose of a regular flu vaccine, which helps it work better also. For the first time, we have a vaccine that’s proven better effective for people ages 50 and older,” Tidwell said.
With all of these benefits, conveniences and availability, getting the flu shot is easy, inexpensive and most importantly, it can help save lives.
“Influenza is still a very deadly disease. It is not something to trifle with. Most of us have experienced the nausea and the vomiting and the fever, and we go to bed for a day or two and we eat some chicken soup and we feel all right, but for children and the elderly, the frail and other people with chronic illnesses, it can still be deadly. Even folks who are walking around who are otherwise healthy can get hit with a deadly strain of the influenza. i can’t stress enough how important it is… this one small step is in preventing one from getting sick,” Schroeder said.
So the next time you pass by a United Supermarket and you see the sign for free flu shots, make sure you take note, take action, go inside, get your flu shot and your 10 percent discount on your groceries, all to help you protect yourself and those close to you.