Back-to-School Wellness

  • by lane gauntt
  • September 26, 2022
  • Categories: Article, Blog, Podcast, Press Release, Uncategorized, Video

As the school year gets into full swing, it is important to prioritize health. Getting the flu vaccine is a great way to reduce your risk of getting ill when exposed to the two major strains of that virus, influenza A and influenza B. Influenza virus causes respiratory tract infection in that it infects the nose, throat and/or lungs. It is a contagious illness spread via particulates exhaled from one individual being inhaled or direct contact when those droplets are touched and transferred directly to the eyes, nose or mouth. Infection can spread 1 day before symptom onset and up to 7 days thereafter.

In general, the yearly flu vaccine is recommended for those ages 6 months and older. There is a special type of flu vaccine that is administered via the nose that should only be given to those ages 2-48 years old; most people have access to the injection forms. Flu season coincides with much of the school year so protecting yourself is important. Most individuals should receive the flu vaccine by the end of October to have protection coincide with the expected rise in cases during flu season. Do not hesitate to take the vaccine later than October as it will offer protection from any exposure thereafter through the remainder of the flu season which is usually through May. It is important to note that the vaccine is effective in both reducing the risk of illness by up to 60% and decreasing the risk for severe symptoms. The flu vaccine will not give you the flu although there may be adverse effects including muscle aches, fever, fatigue and headache which may last up to 48 hours. Most people will only experience injection site soreness.

There are some who should not receive the flu vaccine including but not limited to those under age 6 months, having a history of a severe allergy to the flu vaccine or history of Guillain-Barré syndrome. History of an egg allergy or severe allergy to the flu vaccine is an important factor that should be discussed with your healthcare provider as that may dictate which type of flu vaccine is safest for you.

Les Williams, MD