Flu shots, ways to prevent infection

Flu season is here and with it, runny noses and nausea.

Every year a new flu vaccine is made to battle the influenza virus that could be silently attacking our bodies.

Each year the flu bugs evolve, requiring a new vaccination to prevent people from getting the potentially deadly virus.

The flu is a virus of the lungs and symptoms begin one to three days after it has entered the body.

It is unclear how many deaths occur each year from the flu virus.

If you have any other illnesses or are prone to pneumonia, the flu virus could be harsh enough to hospitalize or kill you.

Symptoms of the flu include fever, headache, chills, cough, sore throat, body aches, and diarrhea.

Each individual is different, and everyone may not suffer from all of the symptoms. If you do contract the flu virus, the symptoms shouldn’t last more than one week. If they do, seek medical attention immediately.

Typically, you are contagious from the day you contract the illness, until one week after.

Certain people shouldn’t get the vaccine without checking with their doctor first.

People who know they have an allergy to eggs or people who have had reactions to the vaccine in the past, should not recieve the vaccine.

Anyone who currently has an illnesses or a fever, should wait until after it has passed to get the vaccine.

Several pharmacies in Monroe County are offering flu shots, which are covered by most health care providers. Rite Aid, Walgreens, CVS, and the Monroe County Health Department are all offering the vaccination.

If you have no health insurance, the vaccine costs around $25.

Health Department hours are 9:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m., and 1 p.m. – 4 p.m., Monday through Wednesday, and Friday.

Though MCCC is not offering flu vaccines this year, flu shots are required for students in the nursing program.

According to the student handbook, seasonal flu shots are required for nursing students, as soon as the shots are available each year.

Failure to receive the vaccination, could prevent students from participating in clinicals.

The federal Centers for Disease Control’s website states that people who get flu shots should watch for soreness, redness or swelling where the shot was given, as well as fever and aches.

It only takes 10 minutes or so to fill out the paperwork and to get the vaccine. Other ways to avoid getting the flu include hand washing, especially after sneezing and coughing.

Washing hands also is recommended when dealing with the public, such as handling food or working with the elderly or children.

Using antibacterial hand sanitizer is another way to prevent contracting the virus when washing your hands is unavailable. Disinfecting commonly used things such as door handles and television remotes is a good way to prevent the spread of the virus.