The flu (influenza) is one of the most common respiratory illnesses in the United States, and this flu season is shaping up to be one of the worst the State has seen in years. The severity of the flu can vary from mild to severe. When severe, flu complications can lead to hospitalization and sometimes even death. Even healthy children and adults can get very sick from the flu.
An annual flu shot is the best way to prevent the flu and flu-related complications. Health experts recommend that everyone 6 months of age and older get a flu shot. Flu shots are especially important for persons at high risk for developing flu-related complications, including: children younger than 5 years; adults 65 years of age and older; pregnant women, and people of any age with a chronic medical condition. The flu season often doesn’t peak until February, so you can still get a flu shot to protect yourself and your family.
“One of the greatest challenges we face from the flu is the uncertainty of the disease,” said Marcee Shaughnessy, Manager of the Carver County Public Health Department. “Flu viruses are constantly changing. Each flu season, different flu viruses can spread, and they can affect people differently based on their body’s ability to fight infection.”
Getting a flu shot is more convenient than ever before. Flu shots are available from your healthcare provider, and at many retail pharmacies. So when you’re out and about in your community and see signs offering flu shots, or when you visit your healthcare provider for a routine check-up, remember: the flu shot is the single best way to prevent the flu.
There are some people who should not get a flu shot, such as people who have had a severe reaction to a flu shot in the past. If you are unsure if you should receive the flu shot, talk to your healthcare provider.
If you do not have a healthcare provider, or cannot afford the cost of the flu shot, please call the Carver County Public Health Information & Resource Line at (952) 361-1329 for assistance. For more information on the flu and the flu shot, please visit www.co.carver.mn.us/departments/ph/flu.asp.