WESTMED Medical Group has a plentiful supply of the 2012-2013 seasonal (also known as “common”) influenza vaccine. This vaccine protects against the flu strains that will cause the most illness during the flu season. You can call your WESTMED primary physician or OB/GYN for an appointment to be immunized. Call your child’s pediatrician to schedule his/her vaccination.
When should I get vaccinated?
If you haven't gotten your flu shot, make your your appointment now. "Flu season can last through May," says Janet Rella, RN, MSN, WESTMED's chief nursing officer. "It takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body and provide protection against the flu."
Who should get vaccinated this season?
Everyone who is at least 6 months of age should get a flu vaccine this season. It’s especially important for certain groups to get immunized. They are:
- People who have certain medical conditions including asthma, diabetes, and chronic lung disease.
- Pregnant women.
- People 65 years and older.
A detailed list is available on the U.S. Centers for Disease Control Web site at Who Should Get Vaccinated Against Influenza. A complete list of health and age factors that are known to increase a person’s risk of developing serious complications from flu is available at People Who Are at High Risk of Developing Flu-Related Complications.
Why do I need a flu vaccine every year?
A flu vaccine is needed every year because flu viruses are constantly changing. It’s not unusual for new flu viruses to appear each year. The flu vaccine is formulated each year to keep up with the flu viruses as they change.
Also, multiple studies conducted over different seasons and across vaccine types and influenza virus subtypes have shown that the body’s immunity to influenza viruses (acquired either through natural infection or vaccination) declines over time.
Getting vaccinated each year provides the best protection against influenza throughout flu season.
What else can I do to keep from getting the flu?
WESTMED urges patients to take simple precautionary measures. “Tell your family the importance of hand washing—washing often with soap and water for 20 seconds or with alcohol-based hand cleaner,” said Ms. Rella. “Avoid contact with people who are ill, and stay home from work or school when sick to prevent infecting others.”
Is there treatment if I get sick with the flu?
Yes. If you get sick, there are drugs that can treat flu illness. They are called antiviral drugs and they can make your illness milder and help you feel better faster. They also can prevent serious flu-related complications, like pneumonia. For more information about antiviral drugs, talk to your internist.
For quick reference to WESTMED doctors’ phone numbers, go to http://www.westmedgroup.com/physicians.aspx.