By: Katherine Ackermann
This Flu season seems to be dragging on for way too long this 2017-2018 season. I remember in October of 2017, about five months ago, my mom frantically calling me that a distant friend of hers died of the flu. In a panic, I went to my University’s Health Center and got my flu shot in a matter of 30 seconds.
When I got to the Health Center, I followed a sign with a pointing arrow that read “FREE FLU SHOTS”. It led to a room with a nice-looking nurse, who was very happy to see a student come in. She, like my mother, urged the importance of the flu shot.
I proudly took a selfie while the needle was in my arm, and the nurse laughed at my laid-back demeanor. I called my mother immediately after and received a sigh of relief and a big “Thank you!”. But before this death of a young woman I knew, I didn’t realize the serious risks of having the flu.
Everyday, it seems a new article comes out about someone dying from the flu, and it’s clear this deadly disease doesn’t have an age. Children, young adults, parents, and elderly, are all dying from the flu.
The saddest part is that flu shots are available for free during flu season, and these shots could have saved many of those people’s lives.
Here are the facts about the flu shot from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
- The best way to prevent the flu is to get the flu vaccine every year, also known as the flu shot.
- The symptoms of the flu happen suddenly, not gradually, and include: fever or feverish chills, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches, fatigue, vomiting and diarrhea which is more common in children than adults.
- The flu spreads easily by people who have the flu. You can get it just from being around a person infected, or exchanging bacteria through coughing and sneezing.
- A person with the flu can be contagious up to one day before their symptoms begin and 5 to 7 days after becoming sick.
- Flu-related complications are the leading causes of death with the flu. Complications such as pneumonia, ear infections, sinus infections, and even congestive heart failure, asthma, and diabetes can all arise from the flu.
- A flu shot cannot give you the flu. This is a terrible myth and misconception about the flu shot.
- During a bad flu season such as this year in 2017-2018, every person 6 months and older should get the shot. The nasal spray is not recommended.
Here at Planned Parenthood, our goal is to make health care affordable and accessible to all people. Check out our website, www.myplannedparenthood.org., to find out how you can stay safe and healthy this flu season.