By Kara Sedlack
“Cough, cough! Sniffle, sniffle!” It may be the season of pumpkin spice lattes and wearing flannel shirts, but we are also approaching flu season. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the flu is a highly contagious acute viral respiratory infection that can occur in children and adults of all ages. Common flu symptoms are severe headaches, muscle aches, chills, fatigue, weakness, severe diarrhea, cough and fever. The flu can even lead to pneumonia or death—about 36,000 people die from the flu each year in the U.S.
To prevent this, it is important to get your yearly flu vaccination. Anyone over the age of six months should get the flu shot. The CDC recommends that the best time to get the flu vaccine is by the end of October in order to increase protection from the flu virus.
There are also many common misconceptions about the flu shot vaccination. Many people may ask, “Can the flu shot give you the flu?” However, this is not the case. The strain of flu given in the vaccine has been inactivated, so it is not able to spread virally.
In addition to getting the flu shot, it is important during flu season to wash your hands and follow cough etiquette (i.e. coughing into your arm or sleeve, not your hands). If you do experience some flu-like symptoms, it is important to avoid public places, drink more fluids, rest and stay home from work or school. It is also important to note that the flu cannot be cured by antibiotics. It is a virus, so its treatment is going to be different. If you become sick with the flu, please visit an available clinic or doctor.
To avoid all this trouble, get your flu shot today! If you’re worried about the cost, worry no more: there are free places for vaccinations such as The Orokawa Y in Towson on October 27 from 3-7 P.M. and St. Joseph Parish in Cockeysville on October 28 from 12-7 P.M.