Flu season is upon us. Doctor’s offices, clinics and drug stores stand at the ready, needles in hand. It’s easy. It’s cheap. It could save you a lot of hassle. It’s time to get your annual flu shot.
Without the ballyhoo of pandemic scares, flu season sneaked up without much notice. This year’s flu cocktail protects against the H3N2 virus, an influenza B virus and the H1N1 virus affectionately known as Swine Flu, much to the dismay of pig farmers everywhere.
Immunity takes one to two weeks to develop. With flu season in full swing, now is the time, and the benefits of a flu shot can be long-term. Flu shots over time can increase immunity and strains often stay the same one year to the next.
While most people do not require medical attention if they develop the flu, symptoms should be taken seriously. Influenza may seem like a cold, but the symptoms are more severe with a sudden onset of body aches, significant cough, a fever and extreme fatigue. Other symptoms include a sore throat, headache, chills, runny or stuffy nose and sometimes vomiting and/or diarrhea.
High-risk patients over age 65, young children, pregnant women and those with pre-existing conditions are more likely to develop complications.