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Beacon of HOPE Wellness Committee: It’s time for a flu shot

October 30, 2019
By NANCY BUTHMAN, APRN , Pine Island Eagle

It's the right time to get a flu shot and it is so important that you do.

Flu season starts in October, generally peaks in December to February, and sometimes continues to May. It takes 2 weeks for the shot to take effect.

Flu can be a serious illness. As you age or if you have chronic conditions, the chances for flu related complications including hospitalization and death increases dramatically. A CDC study in 2017 found that the flu vaccine reduced deaths, ICU admissions and length of stay. Among hospitalized adults in 2018, patients vaccinated were 59% less likely to end up in ICU. It's not something to take lightly.

The best way to protect yourself is to get a yearly flu shot. The shot is 60 80% effective in preventing the flu. If you do get it, the symptoms will be much less severe. One study said that the vaccine has been 80% effective in preventing flu related deaths among seniors.

I have heard people say they won't take a flu shot because it gives them the flu. This is not possible as the vaccine is made from inactivated virus that can't transmit infection. It does take 2 weeks for the shot to take effect so you could get the flu within those 2 weeks. The CDC tries hard to have the vaccine cover the major types of flu for the particular year but may not cover them all. In either case it should help minimize the symptoms

Insurance, including Medicare, will cover the cost of your shot. If you don't have insurance, Costco will be the cheapest. CVS, Target, Walmart and Walgreens are all between $39.88 and $40.99. Publix is a little more at $44, but gives you a $10 gift card.

Make an effort to get this done ASAP. It can make a huge difference to your health.

The Beacon of HOPE is at 5090 Doug Taylor Circle, St. James City. 239-283-5123.



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