Flu Shots


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The Flu Shot is Important! Here's Why

Fall is here, and among other things, that means it is the start of flu season. I'd like to clear up some misconceptions about the flu, and the flu shot. 
First of all, many of the cold-weather ailments patients come see me for are not the flu - they are typically a viral cold, which can be severe, with a fever and body aches, but will not usually last more than 3-7 days.  These types of illnesses are not prevented by  the flu vaccine.

The flu is a serious illness, that can cause a high fever, body aches, cold-like symptoms, and stomach symptoms.  It will make you very sick, and you will likely be in bed for about 2 weeks.  That alone makes it important to get the flu vaccine.  But even more importantly, complications from the flu can be deadly.  The flu can easily lead to pneumonia, which progresses quickly, often requires hospitalization, and has a long recovery time of over a month.  Pneumonia can be fatal if not caught and treated quickly.  The flu can also cause asthma flare-ups, meningitis (an infection in the area surrounding the brain) and heart inflammation which can lead to heart failure.  All of these are very serious and can be deadly.  Certain medical conditions also put you at higher risk for complications if you get the flu. If you have asthma, certain heart conditions, or any type of condition that compromises your immune system, such as diabetes or cancer, or if you take medications that suppress the immune system, your chance of a poor outcome from the flu increases.   

Many patients avoid the flu vaccine because they think it makes them sick.  Some patients may get a slight fever, body aches, sore throat, or runny nose for 1-3 days after having the vaccine.  These symptoms are typically mild and tolerable.  If you get sicker than that after a flu shot, it means you were exposed to something else around the same time as the vaccine, and your illness is not due to the vaccine.  

Every year, the flu causes thousands of deaths, mainly due to complications of the flu.  Even young and otherwise healthy people can be at risk for hospitalization or even death.  I saw this first-hand as a PA student - one of my classmates became very sick with the flu near the end of our first semester.  He developed pneumonia, and sadly passed away.  He was a young man of 30 with a bright future ahead of him, and he is no longer with us because of the flu.  
Here at PTR Sports, we care about you and your health.  Dr. Blue and myself, as well as the rest of our care team, like to practice preventative medicine as much as possible.  This is why we recommend you get a flu vaccine.  Call our office today to schedule a quick nurse visit.  It could save 2 weeks or more of being stuck in bed - and it can even save your life.

-Jill Scully, PA-C


12/18/2015 5:29am

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