Fall is almost here, and soon the sweltering temperatures of summer will only be a memory. And, as Fall approaches, we look forward to a change in the weather and, of course, football. We also hear that it’s time to get our flu shots. Getting the shot is an easy and convenient task, and failing to get protected can mean regrets in winter. Once the flu begins to circulate, without the vaccine, we could wind up in bed for 3 to 5 days feeling miserable, with lingering symptoms for up to two weeks.
When Should You Get the Shot?
Generally, it is best to get the shot sometime between late August, when the vaccine begins to arrive at outlets and the end of October. The Emergency Hospital Systems emergency rooms obtain the vaccines as soon as they are available. We encourage people to stop in and get the protection that will last through the winter.
Nevertheless, even if you miss this ‘deadline,’ it pays to take the shot anytime, even during the flu season. Bear in mind that the vaccine takes about two weeks to become effective, so there’s a little bit of wait time, but still, the protection can keep you from a late-season illness.
Who Should Get the Shot?
Some groups of people are more likely to be severely affected by the flu than others, so they are definite candidates for getting the vaccine early. These include:
- Seniors and Those Living in Nursing Homes or Long-Term Care Facilities
- Pregnant Women
- Young Children.
If you are not in these groups, it doesn’t mean you’re off the hook. Flu can be severe, and every year many people, including healthy individuals, die from the disease. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta, “. . . influenza infection can affect people differently, but millions of people get the flu every year, hundreds of thousands of people are hospitalized and thousands or tens of thousands of people die from flu-related causes every year.”
Further, individuals with other health risks are more prone to develop severe medical conditions if they contract the flu. Very young children may be severely affected by influenza, while those with the following medical conditions may also develop complications. Again, according to the CDC, high-risk individuals include those with:
- Neurologic and neurodevelopment conditions
- Blood disorders (such as sickle cell disease)
- Chronic lung disease (such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease [COPD] and cystic fibrosis)
- Endocrine disorders (such as diabetes mellitus)
- Heart disease (such as congenital heart disease, congestive heart failure, and coronary artery disease)
- Kidney or Liver disorders
- Metabolic disorders
- People who are obese with a body mass index [BMI] of 40 or higher
- People younger than 19 years of age on long-term aspirin- or salicylate-containing medications.
- People with a weakened immune system due to diseases such as HIV, AIDS, or some cancers (e.g., leukemia)
- Those who are receiving chemotherapy or radiation therapy.
The flu vaccine usually arrives in late August, so September and October are prime months for getting your protection. You can find the vaccine at several outlets including Emergency Hospital System’s emergency rooms. Feel free to just walk-in or call us for an appointment. Our friendly staff will gladly accommodate you and your family. We have four convenient locations; two in Cleveland, and one each in Spring and Humble. We’re open 24/7/365 to accommodate your schedule and are here when you need us. For the flu vaccination or any other medical emergency, you can count on us. Call today with questions or to set an appointment, 281-592-5400.