Now is the Time to Get Your Flu Shot By Dr. Lana Dawood

Flu ShotThe arrival of fall means flu season is approaching. Flu season can start as early as October and last until May. The providers at HealthCare Partners Nevada would like to remind patients that with flu season around the corner, there is no time like the present to get a flu shot. Getting the flu vaccine is the first and most important step towards preventing the flu.

The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infects the nose, throat, and lungs. Each year approximately 5 to 20 percent of U.S. residents get the flu and more than 200,000 people are hospitalized for flu-related complications. Last year the U.S. experienced a flu epidemic, with high flu activity reported in 22 states and Puerto Rico, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Unlike a common cold, flu symptoms can come on very suddenly. Those who are infected experience a sudden onset of fever, chills, cough, sore throat, runny nose, fatigue, headaches, muscle and body aches.

The flu vaccine is the best defense against the flu. HealthCare Partners recommends the vaccine for everyone 6 months of age and older, especially those who live with or care for someone who is at a high risk for flu-related complications.

While everyone is at risk for the flu, some groups including as children, people with chronic health conditions, and seniors are more likely to experience complications related to the flu. In fact, 90 percent of flu-related deaths and more than half of flu-related hospitalizations occur in people ages 65 and older.

The flu virus spreads mainly by droplets made when people with the flu cough, sneeze or talk. People may be able to infect others one day before symptoms develop and up to five to seven days after becoming sick. In addition to receiving the vaccine, you should follow preventative steps, such as washing your hands and covering your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, to keep yourself healthy.

Getting vaccinated and practicing simple preventative measures can go a long way in preventing the spread of the flu.  Make an appointment with your HealthCare Partners provider today to get the flu shot. For more information about the services HealthCare Partners Nevada offers, please visit www.hcpnv.com.