Why You Need a Flu Shot Every Year

Flu season is rapidly approaching, here in California and across the U.S. Once the flu latches on, it doesn’t seem to let go for several months. Symptoms come on rapidly, such as a fever, headache, sinus and chest congestion, vomiting, diarrhea, and extreme fatigue. The influenza virus can quickly become life-threatening as you grow dehydrated, your fever spikes, or your chest congestion becomes pneumonia.

The influenza virus poses a significant threat to many groups with weakened immune systems, due to age, ongoing medical treatment, or chronic health issues. Those with HIV, cancer, infants, and the elderly are particularly at risk for developing complications from the flu. These complications can lead to lifelong problems, incapacitation, and even death.

Last year, as of the beginning of February, mid-season for the flu, the state of California reported 163 flu-related deaths, but they weren’t alone. The CDC reports last year’s flu epidemic killed more people in the U.S. than any seasonal influenza in decades. Unfortunately, there’s no way to predict how devastating this season’s flu will be.

Your first defense when deadly flu strikes

At 1st Choice Urgent Care we recognize the toll the influenza virus can take on you and your family. When the flu strikes your home, it’s imperative that you receive prompt medical attention. At 1st Choice Urgent Care, we offer our patients and those in and around the Bakersfield area ways to deal with your flu symptoms-from uncomfortable to dangerous. Dr. Yadwinder Kang and his staff treat flu symptoms and many other health threats.

For more than 20 years, Dr. Kang has provided urgent and comprehensive care as a family practitioner. At 1st Choice Urgent Care, we provide a full range of healthcare for every member of your family. And we’re available 8:00 a.m.-9:00 p.m., every day of the week, for your convenience. If you suspect you have the flu, you need to contact us immediately.

Why an annual flu shot is necessary

The importance of getting a flu shot can’t be stressed enough. Each year the flu virus changes and evolves, so unlike many other vaccines, the flu vaccine won’t protect you indefinitely. The flu vaccine is not a one-time vaccination, nor even something that can be controlled with booster shots. It is essential that you receive a flu shot every year to prevent the spread of seasonal influenza to you and your family.

Another reason you need a flu shot each year is to rev up your antibodies to fight this year’s deadly influenza. Last year’s vaccine, if you had one, did a fine job of building your system’s own antibodies to do battle against the virus. However, over time those antibodies weaken and can’t fight to their fullest. An annual flu shot strengthens weakened antibodies to arm them against the next bout of flu virus.

Just about everyone can protect themselves

The flu vaccine is recommended for children who are at least six months of age, all the way up to adults who are 65. This even includes pregnant women and those who are breastfeeding. In fact, there are only a few reasons you shouldn’t get a flu shot; if you’ve ever had an allergic reaction to a previous flu vaccine, or if you have a life-threatening allergy to any of the vaccines ingredients (for instance eggs), or if you have Guillain-Barré or are currently sick, you should alert your primary care doctor and postpone, or cancel, your flu vaccine. According to the CDC, there are different vaccine types available for the 2018-2019 flu season. Discuss these options with your primary care physician.

Dispelling some myths about the flu shot

The flu shot doesn’t give you the flu. It does give you a weakened dose of a few different strains of the virus, which allows your own immune system to build up antibodies against the anticipated strain of the flu. This arms you against the actual flu. Your body may respond to the vaccine with mild symptoms similar to the flu.

You may have heard that, even with the vaccine, you can still be infected with the flu virus. This is true, to some degree. Even those patients who are diligent about getting their annual flu shot aren’t 100% protected. However, the ravages of the flu on those who have had their flu shot are negligible. Though an unvaccinated person may experience the flu for a few weeks, with its tell-tale coughing, congestion, and fever, an individual who has had a flu shot may only experience mild cold symptoms or an upset stomach.

Protect those you love

The flu season last year was particularly deadly, but that doesn’t mean this year’s flu won’t be just as bad, or worse. The best way to prevent a dangerous flu season this year is by getting your flu shot. See your primary care doctor as soon as this year’s vaccination is available, beginning in October.

Dr. Yadwinder Kang and his staff encourage you to take steps to protect you, your family, and your community from the threat of the life-threatening influenza virus. However, should you or a family member suspect you have the flu, there is no reason to suffer with it’s uncomfortable and potentially risky symptoms. When the flu strikes, avoid complications, and contact 1st Choice Urgent Care today.

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