Getting a Head Start Against the Flu - Crozer-Keystone Health System - PA

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Published on October 24, 2014

Getting a Head Start Against the Flu

Getting a Head Start Against the Flu

Call 610-447-2050 to find a location
in your area offering flu vaccines.

Although the peak of flu season is usually in January and February, the timing of flu is very unpredictable and can vary from season to season. Seasonal flu activity can begin as early as October, which is why it’s important to start protecting yourself early.

Influenza is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat, and lungs. Flu symptoms typically include a fever, cough, sore throat, a runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches, fatigue, and sometimes vomiting and diarrhea. In some serious cases, the flu can lead hospitalization or death.

Influenza, a.k.a. the flu, is spread mainly by droplets made when infected people cough, sneeze or talk. These droplets can then land in the mouths or noses of people nearby. Sometimes people can catch the flu by touching a surface that has the flu virus on it and then touching their mouth, eyes or nose. Yeah, we know that’s gross.

In order to protect yourself from this disease, the Centers for Disease Control recommends that everyone ages 6 months and older get a yearly flu shot, which is designed to defend against the top three or four flu viruses that research shows will cause the most illness during the flu season.

Since flu season can begin as early as October, you should plan on getting the flu shot as soon as it becomes available. This is recommended so that as many people as possible are protected before flu season starts. Additionally, it takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body and provide protection against the flu. Getting the shot early gives you a better chance of avoiding the flu before it makes its way into your community.

Another reason to get the shot early is due to the flu’s contagious nature – someone can pass the flu to you before they show any symptoms of being sick. Most healthy adults can potentially infect others beginning one day before symptoms develop and up to five to seven days after becoming sick.

Although the flu shot is the best way to protect yourself, you can also avoid getting it by staying away from sick people and washing your hands regularly to reduce the spread of germs. If you do become sick with the flu, you should stay home from work and school in order to prevent spreading it to others.

Call the Community Flu Immunization Hotline at 610-447-2050 for weekly updates on dates, times and locations of flu and pneumonia vaccines being given in the community.

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