Promoting preventive health is one of the most important jobs we have as pharmacists.
With flu season right around the corner, the Sona team wants to make sure you know about the flu and the flu vaccine.
In order to help you and your family make informed decisions, we’ve put together our top 10 points to remember:
1.) The flu is a serious illness
Unlike the common cold, the flu is a contagious respiratory illness that can make you very sick. Symptoms include fever, full-body aches, fatigue, cough, chills and many others.
In serious cases, the flu can cause hospitalizations or even death. Children, older adults and people with health conditions (such as lung disease or weakened immune systems) have an increased risk of serious complications if they get the flu.
2.) The flu vaccine is the best way to prevent the flu
The CDC recommends annual vaccination for this reason.
Regular hand-washing, avoiding people with the flu, and covering your mouth when you cough/sneeze can also help prevent getting or spreading the flu.
3.) The flu vaccine can NOT cause the flu
The flu shot is made from inactivated flu virus, which means it is not infectious and cannot cause the flu.
You may have flu-like symptoms (such as fever or muscle pains), but these are side effects of the vaccine itself and are not caused by the flu.
4.) Early flu vaccination is better
Flu season generally runs from October to March.
The CDC recommends getting the flu vaccine early because it takes roughly 2 weeks after vaccination for your body to develop full immunity, and because most people will have immunity throughout flu season.
5.) The flu vaccine is recommended annually
The CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommends that everyone over 6 months old receive a flu vaccine each year.
Getting the flu vaccine is especially important for children, older adults, and those with health conditions that may increase risk for complications of flu.
6.) There are few very people who should not get a flu shot
The only patients who should not receive an annual flu vaccine are children less than 6 months old, or those with a history of a severe allergic reaction.
If you have concerns about getting a flu vaccine, please speak with your doctor or pharmacist.
7.) You should not worry about thimerosal
Another common misconception about vaccines is that thimerosal, a preservative found in some vaccines, can cause harm (including autism).
The CDC has performed studies and has found that thimerosal is very safe at low doses and no evidence indicates it can cause autism.
8.) The flu vaccine is affordable
You can receive the flu vaccine at your pharmacy without having to visit your doctor or get a prescription.
Pharmacies are also set up to bill your prescription insurance, including Medicare and Medicaid, and most plans will cover the entire cost of the flu vaccine.
9.) Antiviral medications like Tamiflu will not cure the flu
Although this medication can help reduce the severity of flu illness when started within 48 hours of symptom onset, it cannot cure the flu. This treatment also requires a trip to your doctor which can get expensive.
For these reasons, prevention with the flu vaccine is key!
10.) If you do get the flu, your Sona pharmacist can help
The flu can make you feel terrible, but Sona Pharmacy + Clinic is here to help.
In addition to prescription antivirals, we can help you find the right over-the-counter products – such as elderberry and medications like Tylenol – to help you get well soon.
The CDC’s website is a great source for more information about the flu and flu vaccine.
If you would like to get your flu shot, please stop by Sona pharmacy! Our pharmacists are happy to administer the vaccine anytime.
If you have questions or concerns about getting the flu shot, please give us a call at 828-298-3636 and ask to speak with one of our pharmacists.