While the weather is still warm in Lawrence, New York, and surrounding Long Island communities, and you might be squeezing in a few more weekend trips to the beach, fall is right around the corner. Still, the last thing on your mind is probably the next flu season. However, our experienced team of family and internal medicine physicians at Arsenio Medical, PC, wants to remind you that the flu shot is your best defense against the upcoming flu season.
Take a minute to learn why you should book your flu shot now, so you can head confidently into fall knowing you’re protected against illness.
The many benefits of the flu vaccine
Did you know that in recent years the flu vaccine has been shown to reduce the risk of doctor visits for flu symptoms by 40-60%? The flu shot has been shown to prevent millions of illnesses and flu-related doctor’s visits, and about 85,000 flu-related hospitalizations. That’s great news, especially for young children and older adults, who are at higher risk of getting the flu each year.
Additionally, if you have a chronic health condition, like diabetes or lung disease, and you get a flu shot, the vaccine may help reduce your risk of being hospitalized. And, if you’re pregnant, the flu shot reduces your risk of flu-associated acute respiratory infection by up to 50%. The flu shot protects people of all ages from the current strain of influenza, and, even if you do get sick, studies show that the flu vaccine reduces the severity of your symptoms and your chances of being hospitalized.
Who should get the flu shot?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), everyone over 6 months old should get a flu shot. That means, aside from very young babies, every member of your family should protect themselves with a yearly flu vaccine.
Flu vaccines are especially important for those in high-risk categories, or people with chronic health conditions, including:
- Young children
- Older adults
- Pregnant women
- Cystic fibrosis
- Kidney disease
- Liver disease
- Weakened immune system
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
After you get your flu shot, it takes up to two weeks for immunity to build in your system, so the sooner you book your appointment, the sooner you’ll be prepared for the upcoming influenza season.
Take additional steps to protect yourself from the flu
The flu shot is your best defense against the flu each year, but you should also take additional steps to protect yourself and your family from the flu and other viruses. These simple reminders can help you stay healthy all year long:
- Wash your hands frequently throughout the day, especially after being in public places
- Avoid touching your nose, eyes, and mouth so as not to spread germs
- Avoid crowded places, like malls or sporting events, when the flu is most prevalent in your community
- Use hand sanitizer when you don’t have access to soap and water
- Get enough sleep each night
- Exercise regularly
- Eat nutritious foods
- Drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated
- Manage stress
And if you or your children do get sick, stay home from work or school so you can prevent spreading germs to others. The flu is a highly contagious respiratory infection. You can infect other people for five to seven days after becoming sick, and symptoms can last up to two weeks.
So, while you’re still enjoying the last few weekends of sunshine and warm weather, plan ahead. Book your flu shot appointment today by calling our friendly office staff at 516-200-1539, or use our online request tool.