Flu Shots are Free
Here are some simple ways to help keep yourself and others healthy during the flu season and throughout the year:
- THE #1 THING YOU CAN DO TO AVOID ILLNESS IS WASH YOUR HANDS, WASH YOUR HANDS, WASH YOUR HANDS!!!
Use hot soapy water and scrub between your fingers and over your palms for 15 to 20 seconds. Rinse your hands thoroughly and dry thoroughly.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick. When you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick too.
- Stay home when you are sick! Avoid exposing others to the illness you already have!
- Cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing. Cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve, NOT your hands. Put used tissues into the garbage immediately.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs are often spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches their eyes, nose or mouth.
Debunking three flu shot myths
- MYTH: Flu shots can give you the flu.
The flu shot is made from a killed virus, making it impossible for the shot to give you the flu. It does, however, take nearly two weeks after you get a shot for your body to begin creating the antibodies that protect you. If you’re exposed to the flu during that time, you can still get the flu.The nasal-spray flu vaccine, FluMist, is made of a live virus that’s been weakened and also cannot give you the flu. However, some patients have some mild, flu-like side effects after getting the nasal spray, including chills, coughs and runny noses.
- MYTH: Flu shots don’t work.
Flu viruses can mutate quickly, and vaccines must be a good “match” with the virus strain to work. Manufacturers base their vaccines on a combination of last year’s flu virus strains and the strains circulating in South America over our summer. Studies have shown that if the seasonal flu shot is a good match with the strain of virus that’s circulating, then the vaccine prevents the flu between 70 percent and 90 percent of the time in people younger than 65 years old.In the case of the swine flu, the vaccine is a good match with the H1N1 virus, and health officials expect the vaccine to be very effective.
- MYTH: I don’t need a shot because I don’t get the flu.
Not having gotten the flu in the past is no guarantee that you won’t get it in the future, according to doctors – it only means you haven’t been sufficiently exposed to the virus. This is especially true with the swine flu, since people under the age of 65 appear to have no background immunity to the virus strain.