The holidays bring the community closer together but illnesses like the flu ruin the cheer and keep families apart. This week, during National Influenza Vaccine Week, know it's not too late to get your flu shot.
How does the flu vaccine affect you? Getting the flu vaccine prevents the spread of illness and helps our community have a healthier holiday season. Mary Mockerman, Chief Quality Officer at Box Butte General Hospital clarifies what the flu shot does and how self-care assists in personal health, “The flu shot protects against influenza; a respiratory viral illness causing cough, fever, body aches and headache. It does not protect against viruses that cause vomiting, diarrhea, and upset stomach. The flu shot is one of several tools that can help you stay healthy during the holidays and winter season. Adequate rest, exercise, frequent hand hygiene, and making time to enjoy the outdoors all help you stay healthy.” In addition, staying healthy this year also includes social distancing and wearing a mask.
The group hardest hit by seasonal flu are generally the senior population. Yet, only about 60% of seniors in the U.S. receive a flu shot and most of those do so before the end of November, which follows the trend reported by the CDC that fewer people traditionally get flu shots past November. The CDC says different flu vaccines are designed for people older than 65, and considerations can be taken regarding individual health conditions.
It isn't too late to get a flu shot. The flu season can continue until late April and generally starts providing protection two weeks after inoculation. We encourage those still in need of a flu shot to speak with their provider about getting vaccinated as soon as possible. Lori Mazanec, CEO of Box Butte General Hospital reminds, “As BBGH strives to promote community wellness, so is the importance of getting your flu shot to protect yourself and your loved ones from becoming seriously ill.” Getting a flu shot doesn’t just protect you; it also protects those in our community who are unable to receive the flu shot due to medical conditions. Community immunity protects us all.
Added 1/9/2019 Updated 12/10/2020