Thursday, October 4, 2012

Don't Fall for the Flu!

     Fall is in the air! The leaves are beginning to change and the cool weather is a much-needed break from the heat of summer. However, everything isn’t pumpkin pie and wool sweaters. Along with the changing seasons comes an increased risk of the flu.

     The flu, or influenza, is a serious infectious disease that can be life threatening. Hundreds of thousands of people will experience a high fever, sore throat, muscle pains, headache, coughing, fatigue, chills, and feelings of overall discomfort—all common symptoms of the flu. Many children, and some adults, will also experience nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

     According to the American Lung Association’s Influenza Prevention program, an average of 1 in 5 Americans will get the flu this year, and deaths could range from 3,000 to 49,000 people.

     With statistics like that, the flu is not an illness to be taken lightly. Fortunately, there are several things you can do to help prevent the flu from ruining your fall plans:
  • Wash your hands often; the flu is usually spread from person to person. 
  • Avoid contact with anyone experiencing flu-like symptoms – better safe then sick! 
  • Get vaccinated against the flu every year – this is your best defense against the flu. 

     A common misunderstanding is that the flu vaccine will give you the flu ... not true! The flu vaccination is safe, effective, and the number-one way you can help keep influenza out of your body and prevent spreading the disease to others.

     Several groups of people are at a higher risk of flu-related complications that could lead to hospitalization or even death.

Health officials strongly recommend the following groups get the flu vaccine:
  • People who are 50 years and older 
  • Pregnant women 
  • Anyone with a chronic medical condition such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), heart disease, diabetes, and others 
  • Residents of nursing home and long-term care facilities 

     If you are frequently around others who may have the flu, the vaccine is the best defense to protect your health and those around you. Childcare providers, health care professionals and families are all frequently exposed to the flu virus.

     Here at Mertius Health, we care about your health and want to prevent the flu from affecting our community as best we can. Feel safer this fall with a flu vaccine. Stop by any of our five local Home Care Pharmacy locations and get your flu shot!

For more information, please call 301.766.4167.

By: Sarah Koons

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