Your best defense against influenza (flu) is to get vaccinated. Across the country, hundreds of millions of people have gotten the flu vaccine safely for decades. It is a reliable way to keep you and your family from getting sick.
This year, it’s especially important to get your flu shot. The Good Samaritan Society, Sanford Health and other health systems will be handling two circulating viruses this fall, influenza and COVID-19. By getting vaccinated against the flu, you’re protecting yourself and your community from that illness and freeing up medical resources to care for COVID-19 patients.
What is the Flu?
The flu is a virus that targets the nose, throat and lungs. It can cause:
- Sore throat
- Muscle aches
- Extreme fatigue
- Vomiting (in children)
These symptoms can last anywhere from a few days to a few weeks.
The flu can also weaken your immune system, making you more vulnerable to other infections. These secondary infections make the flu potentially life-threatening to young children, older adults, people with chronic health conditions and pregnant women. In an average year, the flu leads to thousands of deaths nationwide and many more hospitalizations.
Why Get Vaccinated?
You can significantly lower your chance of getting the flu. The CDC recommends that everyone 6 months or older get vaccinated every year. The virus mutates, or changes, regularly. Make sure you’re protected with the latest vaccine. It’s best to be vaccinated by the end of October each year.
The flu shot is essential for older adults and those with underlying health conditions. Influenza can lead to health complications and increase your risk of heart attack and stroke. Vaccination can protect you from getting influenza and lessen the severity of the symptoms you experience if you do get the virus.
Where Can I Get Vaccinated?
Call your local clinic to schedule your flu shot appointment. You can also go to a pharmacy or a walk-in clinic. Some health systems offer drive-up flu shot clinics. These typically don’t require an appointment and are a very convenient option.