Get the Facts: Flu and Vaccine, Stillwater OK

October 6, 2010

Stillwater Medical Center blog:

As the 2010-11 Flu Season approaches, educate yourself on the latest Flu Vaccine and Flu Facts.  Protect yourself and your family by getting a flu vaccine.

Flu Vaccine Facts
* The 2010-11 flu vaccine provides protection against the three main viruses that research indicates will cause the most illness this season. The 2010-11 flu vaccine will protect against an influenza A (H3N2) virus, an influenza B virus, and the 2009 H1N1 virus that caused so much illness last season.

* Flu vaccines CANNOT cause the flu. The viruses in flu vaccines are either killed (the flu shot) or weakened (the nasal-spray vaccine). The flu vaccines work by priming your body’s defenses in case you are exposed to an actual flu virus.

* Flu vaccines are safe. Serious problems from the flu vaccine are very rare. The most common side effect that a person is likely to experience is soreness where the injection was given. This is generally mild and usually goes away after a day or two.

Influenza (Flu) Facts
* The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to hospitalizations and death.

* The main way that influenza viruses are thought to spread is from person to person in respiratory droplets of coughs and sneezes. Influenza viruses may also be spread when a person touches respiratory droplets on another person or an object and then touches their own mouth or nose (or someone else’s mouth or nose) before washing their hands.

* Most healthy adults may be able to infect others beginning one day before symptoms develop and up to five to seven days after becoming sick. Children may pass the virus for longer than seven days.

* Some people, such as older adults, pregnant women and very young children as well as people with certain long-term medical conditions are at high risk of serious complications from the flu. These medical conditions include chronic lung diseases, such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), diabetes, heart disease, neurological conditions and pregnancy.

* Since health care workers may care for or live with people at high risk for influenza-related complications, it is especially important for them to get vaccinated annually.

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