Get Your Flu Shot
We all need shots (also called vaccinations or immunizations) to help protect us from serious diseases. Immunization is the process of introducing an antigen (foreign substance that triggers immune system response) into the body through various routes ex., shots, aerosol, ingestion, etc., to cause protection against the infectious agent (the foreign substance) without causing disease. Antibodies produced by the immune system causes protection if exposed to the actual disease. Vaccination is important because it not only protects the person who gets the vaccine, but also helps to keep diseases from spreading to others, like family members, neighbors, classmates, and other members of your communities. Vaccines are recommended for children, teens, and adults based on different factors like age, health conditions, lifestyle, jobs, and travel. Before a vaccine is approved for use in the U.S., it goes through years of careful testing to make sure it is safe and effective. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) www.cdc.gov is an excellent source of information on the importance of immunizations along with side effects of vaccines.
Influenza is a virus that causes a preventable illness called the flu. Flu season is rapidly approaching, and in the United States can begin as early as October and last as late as May. The flu can cause high hospitalization rates, particularly among patients 65 years and older, children under two years, and patients with compromised immune systems. Deaths from the flu are usually caused by complications from chronic conditions such as asthma and COPD, or infections such as pneumonia.
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The best way to protect yourself from the flu is to receive an annual influenza vaccine. The recommendation from the CDC is to vaccinate everyone over the age of 6 months. The CDC also recommends everyday preventive actions, ex. avoiding people who are sick, covering coughs and sneezes and frequent hand-washing, to help slow the spread of germs that cause respiratory (nose, throat, and lungs) illnesses, like flu. When more people get vaccinated against the flu, less flu can spread through that community. The upcoming season’s flu vaccine will protect against the influenza viruses that research indicates will be most common during the season.
Despite the success of vaccination efforts, many people go without being vaccinated. Pharmacies offer major advantages as places to administer immunizations. Pharmacists are considered one of America’s most accessible health care professional. Pharmacists provide vaccination programs in the community and can serve as valuable resources. Pharmacists receive extensive education and training about vaccine administration, and are experienced in storage, handling, and inventory. Pharmacists can identify specific people who need vaccines based upon patient disease states, risk factors, and medication histories. Most pharmacies are capable of billing insurances for the vaccine product, and administration of the vaccine.
- The injectable vaccine does not contain live virus so it is impossible to get the flu from the vaccine.
- Wash your hands often, and cover mouth when coughing or sneezing.
- GET YOUR FLU SHOT!