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Flu Shot is a Safe Bet This Season

A safe bet to help avoid an influenza and COVID "twindemic" includes getting your flu shot this season.

Flu season is right around the corner, and with most of the country already on high alert with COVID over the past year, rightfully we are concerned about what this flu season will bring. We are really unsure of when a vaccine will be available for public use for the COVID-19 pandemic; however, we can count on the annual flu vaccine to help keep us safe. Since it is likely that both viruses will be circulating around the community at some point this winter, vaccination is especially important this year. 

There are a lot of myths surrounding the flu vaccine, including that it makes patients sick with influenza. This is really not possible. The vaccine does not contain a live virus, so it can’t replicate inside your body to cause influenza, but the body recognizes it as foreign so it begins to make antibodies so it can fight it once you are exposed. Some patients experience low grade fever, achiness, and fatigue because the body is working to build up immunity. When patients get sick soon after getting the flu vaccine it is likely because they were exposed elsewhere. It takes some time for your body to build up immunity so you can still get the flu if you are exposed in the days following the vaccination. 

Another complaint that I often hear is that the flu vaccine doesn’t work. People will still test positive for influenza even after having the vaccine. This certainly can and does happen. The vaccine changes every year based on which viruses have been circulating in countries like China, which typically experience flu season earlier than we do here. This is why the vaccine changes every year and why it is recommended that we get it on a yearly basis. One flu season is never the same as the next! Even though it is not always 100% effective, it helps to boost your immunity so you may not get as sick. 

The CDC recommends that everyone ages 6 months and older get the vaccine every year starting in September-October. The Barnesville Area Clinic will be having two separate influenza vaccine blitz days on October 14 from 8:30-3:30 and October 21 from 8:30-3:30. Appointments are required this year to maintain a safe number of patients in the clinic at any given time so that social distancing requirements can be followed. The appointment times are 10 minutes long and you may schedule up to 4 people from the same family for the appointment. If these days do not work, please call us at 218-354-2111 to schedule a different time to come in and get the flu shot. 

In addition to the vaccine, there are a few other things you can do to keep yourself healthy: drink plenty of water, eat a balanced diet with fresh fruits and vegetables, wash your hands regularly and get enough sleep. If you’re not feeling well, stay home. When you’re out and about be sure to wear your mask and keep an appropriate distance between yourself and others.

 

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