As the 2019 flu season approaches Colorado, it is helpful to educate the public on key facts about influenza, commonly called “the flu.” While Metro Urgent Care offers flu prevention, flu testing and treatment, our team believes knowledge is power. Read on to discover some important facts about the flu or “influenza,” specifically in the Denver, Colorado area.
According to the CDC, the “flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat, and sometimes the lungs. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. The best way to prevent flu is by getting a flu vaccine each year.”
MUC offers $25 flu shots at our Denver walk-in medical clinics from 8am – 8pm seven days a week. Last year’s Colorado flu season was the worst in recorded history, so health officials are stressing the importance of getting vaccinated against the flu. Flu vaccines work by causing antibodies to develop in the body about two weeks after vaccination. The CDC says, “these antibodies provide protection against infection with the viruses that are in the vaccine.” While the flu vaccination is the best way to prevent against the flu, Colorado residents should wash hands thoroughly, avoid contagious persons, get plenty of sleep and stay hydrated.
Unfortunately, it is too early in the season to make any predictions regarding the severity of the upcoming flu season. However, if the 2019 season is anything like last year’s, it could be one of the worst in history. According to the CDC, “the 2017-18 season was the first season to be classified as a high severity across all age groups.” Furthermore, the CDC website provided the following stats regarding the 2018 flu season- “During the 2017-2018 season, the percentage of deaths attributed to pneumonia and influenza was at or above the epidemic threshold for 16 consecutive weeks.” In layman’s terms, it’s estimated that over 80,000 people died from flu-related illnesses in the United States last year, which is the highest number in 40+ years. Unfortunately, last year’s flu season was responsible for a recorded 180 pediatric deaths, the highest to date (80% of these pediatric deaths occurred in children who did not receive a flu vaccination).
Most people should get a flu shot. The CDC recommends everyone six months and older get a flu vaccination, provided they are healthy during the time they receive the shot. Those younger than 6 months of age, those with potential life-threatening allergies, or those with Guillain-Barré Syndrome should not get the flu shot. If you are unsure if you should or should not get a flu shot, contact MUC and speak with one of our licensed medical professionals.
Health professionals recommend getting a flu shot by the end of October or early November. It takes about two weeks for the antibodies to fully take effect, so getting a flu shot early in the season is ideal.
While it is true that healthy individuals might not get the flu in any given year or over the span of a couple years, there are plenty of good reasons to still get vaccinated. Why? Infants, those with compromised immune systems, and the elderly might catch the flu from a non-vaccinated carrier, which could result in serious illness or even death.
The CDC estimates that flu vaccination reduces the risk of the virus by about 40 to 60 percent. You might still catch the flu this year, yet it could be less severe if you have gotten a flu shot, which decreases your chances of pneumonia and hospitalization. He
Those who are sick with the flu are most contagious in the first 3-4 days after their illness begins. Adults in good health might infect others beginning 1 day before their symptoms develop and up to 7 days after becoming sick. NPR compiled a short video about how long infected persons are contagious with the flu. Watch it below:
Do you need a flu shot, flu testing or flu treatment? Call, check-in online or walk in to any of our convenient Denver care clinics from 8am – 8pm seven days a week.
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