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It’s Not Too Late to Get Your Flu Shot!


The flu can kill you, or make you very sick, but you can dramatically reduce your chances of getting it by simply getting the flu vaccine. And it’s never too late to get it: the flu season can last until May.

Every year, approximately 36,000 people die from the flu, and over 200,000 are hospitalized, according to the Centers for Disease Control. It’s a common disease, but it’s one to take seriously. Infection with the flu virus can give you a fever, severe cough, congestion, headache, sore throat and generalized body aching. The flu is highly contagious and can result in complications such as pneumonia, dehydration and bacterial infections; it is especially dangerous for infants and young children, pregnant women, the elderly, people with weakened immune systems due to illness or immunosuppressive medication, and people with existing conditions such as diabetes or heart disease.

Everyone should get the flu vaccine, beginning at six months of age. The vaccine is safe and has few side effects; the most common is a sore arm. It’s widely available at physician offices, clinics, senior centers, and pharmacies.

Despite the safety and effectiveness of flu vaccine, many people misunderstand it and are afraid it will make them sick or even give them the flu. “There’s a lot of fear associated with the flu vaccine,” says Emily Gleason, MD, a family practice physician with St. Clair Family Practice Associates. “It isn’t possible for the flu vaccine to give you the flu; it’s made from inactivated virus and it triggers your immune system to make antibodies against the flu, in case you are exposed to it. If you don’t believe that you need a flu shot for yourself, then get one for the people you love. Getting the flu vaccine is something you do for others, for your family and your community.”

Get your flu shot!



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