News | Published October 25, 2013 | Written by Marlene Stetson, RN, CIC, infection control coordinator, Mount Nittany Medical Center

Flu prevention only takes a few minutes

You can spend a few minutes of your day in a variety of ways from checking the latest sports scores to watering your plants to looking online for the newest shopping deal. But would you spend just a couple of minutes to greatly protect your health and the health of your friends, family and those around you?

To help prevent the flu, take a few minutes out of your day and get the flu vaccine. Approximately 5-20 percent of Americans will develop the flu this year, leading to more than 200,000 hospitalizations from related complications, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine as the first and most important step in protecting against the flu and advises that everyone 6 months and older receive a flu vaccine. People who are at high risk of developing serious complications from the flu, including young children, pregnant women, people 65 years and older, and those with chronic health conditions like asthma, diabetes or heart and lung disease are at high risk of developing flu complications and are strongly recommended to get the flu shot.

If you are moderately or severely ill with or without a fever, you should usually wait to get the flu vaccine until you are fully recovered. If you are mildly ill, you should be fine to get the vaccine; however, please check with your physician first.

The FDA has approved vaccines to fight the virus strains that are most likely to cause the most illness during the upcoming flu season. It’s best to get the flu vaccine in the early fall when it’s first available, but you can receive the vaccine throughout flu season.

I urge you to get a flu vaccine to not only protect yourself from getting the flu, but to also help reduce the spread of the virus to others. Flu vaccines are offered in many locations, including doctor’s offices, clinics, health departments and pharmacies.

Mount Nittany Physician Group is currently offering flu shot clinics at various locations across the region. For a list of available locations, please visit mountnittany.org/fluclinics. Flu shots are typically covered by your health insurance, but make sure you check with your insurance provider before getting the flu shot. If you are uninsured or prefer to pay for your flu shot, the cost is $35 (payable at time of service) at Mount Nittany Physician Group’s flu shot clinic.

For more information on flu prevention, visit mountnittany.org or cdc.gov/flu.

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