By Kevin Carr, MD of the Platteville Clinic at Southwest Health and the Cuba City Clinic at Epione Pavilion
It’s that time of year again…Flu season! And while you’re probably not jumping at the chance to get a shot, there are some very important reasons why you should be lining up for your flu vaccine. You may have also heard of a few changes since last year, too.
But first, let’s brush up on your flu knowledge. Do you really know what the flu can do? The flu is a serious illness that can affect people differently. It can lead to hospitalization and even death. On average, there are more than 200,000 hospitalizations each year due to flu-related complication. Flu can lead to serious complications such as pneumonia and bronchitis. It can also make chronic health problems, such as asthma or congestive heart failure, worse.
Seniors ages 65 and older are at a greater risk of serious complications from the flu. As a result, up to 90% of flu-related deaths are people who fall in that age category. Taking action to assure that your family members, neighbors, friends and especially seniors have access to flu vaccines is especially important. The flu can be especially dangerous for children younger than five as well. Which is why the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends flu vaccines for everyone six months and older by the end of October each year. And, according to the CDC “some children who have received flu vaccine previously and children who have only received one dose in their lifetime, may need two doses of flu vaccine.” Your health care provider will always be able to advise you on how many doses your child should get.
The major differences this year with the flu vaccine are that we have found the nasal mist much less effective so they are not being used this year. Originally, the nasal mist was created for those who were not comfortable with needles and injections. After further research, the mist was found to be only about three percent effective.
In our clinics, we provide over 2,000 vaccines a year. Just like any type of vaccine, we rely on herd immunity to keep the ones who are unable to receive the vaccinations safe; such as those with compromised immune systems and young babies. Which is why at Southwest Health we encourage our own employees to get vaccinated, and last year over 95% of our staff received their flu vaccine.
Flu vaccinations are available now and our staff is ready to help keep you healthy this flu season. To schedule your flu shot call The Platteville Clinic at 608-348-4330 or The Cuba City Clinic at 608-744-2767.