It’s the most wonderful time of the year! While we continue to social
distance to keep loved ones safe and healthy this holiday season, many
of us are also gearing up for a busy month filled with social gatherings,
festivities and a visit from the jolly ol’ big guy.
But it’s not just Santa who comes to visit this time of year--each
year like clockwork, flu season comes along. After nearly two years of
missing social occasions with friends and family due to the
COVID-19 pandemic, we’re all ready for some holiday cheer. To help ensure the flu
isn’t the gift you give or receive,
Southeast Georgia Health System and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are encouraging
everyone to get a flu shot before partaking in holiday get-togethers.
This year, the CDC is highlighting the importance of the flu vaccine during
National Influenza Vaccination Week, Dec. 5-11, by reminding people that
even though the holiday season has begun, it’s not too late to get
a flu vaccine.
Getting a flu shot is the best way to protect yourself and your loved ones.
Seasonal influenza spreads easily, with rapid transmission in crowded
areas, such as schools, nursing homes, and large gatherings. When an infected
person coughs or sneezes, droplets containing the virus are dispersed
into the air, infecting those in close proximity who breathe the droplets in.
The virus can also be spread by hands contaminated with the influenza virus.
People should cover their mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or
sneezing, wash their hands frequently with antibacterial soap, and use
hand sanitizer to prevent transmission.
Most people who get the flu will recover in several days to less than two
weeks. But that’s not a reason to let your guard down, as the flu
is much more than just a bad cold. It can result in serious health complications,
such as pneumonia, bacterial infections, and hospitalizations. In some
cases, the flu can even lead to death.
People at high risk of serious flu complications include young children,
pregnant women, people with certain chronic conditions like asthma, diabetes,
heart or lung disease, and those 65 years and older. Even if you are not
at a higher risk of developing flu complications, anyone who gets the
flu can pass it to someone at an increased risk of severe illness, including
children younger than six months who are too young to get the flu vaccine.
If you have already been infected with the flu, you can still benefit from
vaccination. Many different flu viruses spread during flu season, and
the vaccine protects against four flu viruses.
In addition to the flu vaccine, if you have not yet received your COVID-19
vaccine, the CDC recommends getting both. The agency advises that the
COVID-19 vaccine and other vaccines can be administered without regard
to timing. This includes simultaneous administration of COVID-19 vaccine
and the influenza vaccine on the same day, as well as co-administration
within 14 days.
Flu vaccinations are available at Southeast Georgia Physician Associates
primary care, pediatric and pulmonary medicine physician practices. Don’t
get too busy in the hustle and bustle of the holiday season to protect
yourself and your loved ones. Call your physician’s office to schedule
a flu vaccine!