Flu is sneaky!

Flu is sneaky!  If Flu comes to your house, do you know what to do to be prepared?  Check to see if your doctor has after-hours care or an illness hotline. Check to see if your insurance has an illness hotline and write down the number for others to use on your behalf.  Make a plan for help if you are too sick to care for others. Gather medical and prescription information for everyone in your household. Learn the difference between common flu symptoms and dangerous –emergency symptoms here. https://www.rightcareyakima.com/get-control-over-flu.asp

How do you know if it’s Cold or Flu?

Because colds and flu share many symptoms, it can be difficult (or even impossible) to tell the difference between them.  The symptoms of flu can include fever or feeling feverish/chills, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches and fatigue (tiredness). Cold symptoms are usually milder than the symptoms of flu. People with colds are more likely to have a runny or stuffy nose. Learn more about Flu at https://www.rightcareyakima.com

Why you need to get the flu vaccine

Oct. 7, 2014—Less than half of the people in the United States protected themselves with a flu vaccine during the 2013–2014 flu season, according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

CDC strongly advises that people 6 months and older—with only rare exceptions—should get a yearly vaccine against the flu. Despite this advice, the report found only 46.2 percent of Americans in the recommended age group were vaccinated against the flu in the 2013–2014 flu season.

About the report

The report drew on data from random phone surveys in which 400,000 American adults were asked if they’d had a flu vaccine. Researchers then compared the current responses to past survey answers.

Among other things, they found that kids were better protected from the flu than adults. During the 2013–2014 flu season:

  • Almost 59 percent of kids nationwide got a flu vaccine—a rise of 2.3 percent over the previous season.
  • Only 42.2 percent of adults age 18 or older were vaccinated—an increase of 0.7 over the previous season.
  • The lowest rate of flu vaccination was among adults ages 18 to 49. Only 32.3 percent of them got the vaccine.

Read more about the report’s results here.

The take-home message
An annual flu vaccine is the best way to prevent the flu, which can cause serious complications such as pneumonia and can even be deadly. According to CDC, more than 200,000 people are hospitalized every year nationwide with flu complications.

Given that the flu can be quite serious, a yearly flu vaccine is in the best interest of almost everyone 6 months and older. To find out if you’re one of the rare people who shouldn’t be vaccinated—or if you should talk to your doctor before getting a vaccine—read these CDC recommendations here.

Among other things, the flu vaccine can protect you from missing work or school, from being hospitalized, and even from dying. In short, it’s dangerous to skip it.

Here are four things to keep in mind about the flu vaccine:

  1. It’s safe. It has very few side effects, and the most common ones are mild.
  2. It’s best to get vaccinated early. CDC says it takes about two weeks for the vaccine to provide complete protection. Those who get vaccinated before the flu hits their community will have a better chance of being protected.
  3. It won’t give you the flu. That’s a myth—and not a reason to skip the vaccine, CDC cautions
  4. Those who avoid the vaccine because they don’t like shots can ask their doctor about a nasal spray flu vaccine. This option is approved for healthy people ages 2 to 49, except for pregnant women. CDC recommends it for children ages 2 to 8 years when it’s available and notes that it may work better than the shot for younger children.

Want to know more? Here are some additional helpful questions and answers about the flu.


Flu vaccine may help protect against heart attack, stroke

People who are at risk for being hospitalized for, or dying from, a heart attack or stroke can significantly reduce that risk with a yearly flu vaccination, according to a study in The Journal of the American Medical Association.

Benefits of the vaccine were most pronounced in people at the highest risk for such cardiovascular events.

The study’s lead author called the findings “very provocative.”

“Only about 50 percent of the general public actually get their seasonal flu vaccine, for a myriad of reasons,” said Jacob A. nbsp;Udell, MD, of the University of Toronto.

He said he hoped the findings can convince people of the importance of influenza vaccination—for keeping the flu at bay as well as for other health issues.


About the study

Researchers gathered information from previous randomized clinical trials that focused on people at risk for heart attacks, unstable angina, stroke, heart failure, blood clots and heart arrhythmias and the effect of flu vaccination or a placebo.

The authors reviewed six studies involving a total of 6,735 patients. The average age was 67, and more than a third of the people had a history of serious heart problems.

Some of the findings:

  • In five studies, 4.7 percent of people who did not get a flu vaccine developed a major heart problem within one year, compared to 2.9 percent of those who were vaccinated.
  • Among people with a recent history of heart disease, the risk for a serious cardiovascular event within a year was 23.1 percent without vaccination, compared to 10.3 percent for those who were vaccinated.
The take-home message
Previous studies have suggested that seasonal flu-like (respiratory) illnesses can trigger cardiovascular problems—particularly in people with previously stable vascular disease, the authors noted. It’s not clear why this is true, they wrote. It’s possible that the viral infection triggers a rupture of plaque buildup in the arteries, causing a clot. Infection in the lungs may add to fluid buildup that worsens heart failure.

The authors urged further research with a large-scale clinical trial to confirm whether something as inexpensive and safe as a yearly flu shot could indeed be a significant part of treatment for this high-risk population.

“This finding has considerable clinical and health policy importance, given the profound underuse of vaccination among the general public and the potential impact this preventive strategy may have on high-risk patients,” they concluded.

What should you know about the flu season? Visit the Flu health topic center.