The Centers for Disease Control recommends that everyone six months and older get the flu vaccine as soon as it is available.
Director of Nursing Karen Brown says it's hard to predict the severity of each flu season. The timing, severity and length of the season varies from year to year.
"Cold temperatures lead to drier air, which may dehydrate a person's mucous membranes, preventing the body from effectively defending against influenza virus infections", Director of Internal Medicine at OptumCare Medical Group Dr. Gregory Joy said. In severe cases, however, the virus can lead to unsafe complications resulting in hospitalization or even death.
What are the symptoms of the flu?
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If you don't think you should receive the regular flu shot - for example, if you have an egg allergy or are pregnant - the CDC recommends you get a flu shot from your doctor.
"The flu shot is your best defence against the flu", said Richard Hesch, a public health nurse at the health unit. A widespread misconception is that getting a flu shot will make you get the flu, but that simply is not possible. Trivalent vaccines are made to protect against three flu viruses - two influenza A (H1N1 and H3N2) viruses, and an influenza B virus. Others contain no virus at all. That's why health officials are urging county residents to obtain their flu shots now.
In the first two weeks of October, the Ohio Department of Health reported 23 people were hospitalized across the state with influenza, typical for this time of year. This helps people who can't get a flu shot for health or medical reasons, by limiting the spread of the virus - those who are protected act as a barrier to the spread of the virus to others. "And you want to get that protection for yourself and others before the flu is in our community".
How long does flu season last? .
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While seasonal flu outbreaks can happen as early as October, flu activity is usually highest between December and February. The more people who are vaccinated, the less likely it is that flu will spread through the community.
The vaccine is different each year because the virus changes frequently, so people should get a shot each fall, the health unit says.
Vaccines will also be given at the hospital's pharmacy after the clinic ends. Yesterday's drill included 800 free flu shots. "It is a choice, but we strongly encourage them to get immunized".
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