Northern California Medical Associates’ family medcicne and internal medicine physicians suggest getting this year’s flu vaccine, which is more likely to prevent most flu strains this year
Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center reports that this year’s flu vaccines are set to be a good match to most probable flu outbreaks. The flu vaccine is never 100 percent effective, even when scientists have done their homework to predict which strains will be most active. But this year experts are more certain that the CDC’s recommended vaccine with help to prevent flu outbreaks — an improvement over last year’s flu season. And, flu shot recipients who still get the flu will supposedly benefit by its effect to reduce the severity of symptoms.
Flu season is serious
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) so far, the flu activity so far is low in the United States — and it’s hard to image that we’re already half way through the flu season. But as is typical each year, flu outbreaks don’t really begin to get off the ground until October, just as kids head back to school and the cooler weather forces everyone indoors. These conditions tend to lead to more exposure to flu germs that spread much easier in close quarters. Although flu symptoms can cause some people to only miss a few days of work or school, every year it also contributes to millions of more serious illnesses, hundreds of thousands of hospitalizations and thousands of deaths.
The CDC estimates that an average of 36,000 people will die of flu this year in the U.S. alone, potentially more if new flu strains pop up that prove to be resistant to current antiviral drugs. With this in mind, prevention is the key to staying healthy. First on the list for prevention from the Internal Medicine Physicians of Northern California Medical Associates is a yearly flu vaccine for every person over the age of six months.
“While there is no way to prevent everyone from getting the flu, and vaccines are not always effective all of the time, getting the most current vaccine is the best way to protect against flu,” says NCMA’s Dr. Thomas Guyn. Vaccination can reduce incidents of flu illnesses and help to avoid missed work and school, as well as prevent hospitalizations in most people.
Important ways to avoid the flu
Stay healthy — A healthy immune system is important for prevention of any cold or flu, and it certainly helps to reduce the duration of sick time when an infection occurs. The most obvious ways to stay healthy includes;
- eat right, eat fresh foods to maximize nutrients
- get plenty of exercise to maintain health and maximize potential for staying resistant to viruses
- get enough rest, at least 8 hours sleep for adults, 9 hours for teens, 10–12 for younger children
- de-stressify, stress is a known contributor to ill health and can damage the immune system
- take preventive measures such as frequent hand washing, avoid close contact with sick people
- avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth
What to do if you get the flu
For those who cannot avoid the flu, there are drugs that can treat flu symptoms called “antiviral” drugs which work to make the illness milder and help a person feel better faster. They can also help to prevent serious flu-related complications, like pneumonia.
Family medicine and internal medicine physicians at NCMA typically recommend that anyone with flu-like symptoms stay home and avoid contact with others for at least 24 hours after the fever has subsided (without the aid of fever-reducers). If symptom persist or worsen, seek medical help right away.
About NCMA family medicine and internal medicine
Northern California’s premier provider of medical and surgical care north of the Golden Gate has been serving individuals and families since 1975. NCMA’s family medicine and internal medicine physicians diagnose, treat, and manage a full spectrum of health conditions.