Influenza is more than just an inconvenience. Flu can be a significant health threat for individuals of all ages, especially seniors and children who have other medical conditions.
Influenza sends more than 200,000 Americans to the hospital each year and it is among the leading causes of death for senior citizens. But getting a flu vaccination can help prevent it. Dr. Janak Koirala, professor of infectious diseases at SIU School of Medicine in Springfield, explains who should be vaccinated.
“Getting flu vaccinations is important for all age groups and all of the people. Of course it is more important for people who have chronic illnesses such as COPD or heart problem or lung problems. For people with diabetes and immune compromised people, it is more important.”
Dr. Koirala says flu vaccinations definitely reduce the severity of the symptoms and decrease the spread of the disease. He advises everyone to get a flu shot.
“Recently the CDC has recommended that the flu vaccine should be taken as soon it becomes available. That is early or mid-fall. And it does apply protection through the flu season which goes until spring.”
Dr. Koirala says if someone gets very ill from influenza, they should go to their primary care physician or the emergency department. Individuals who have the flu should be vigilant about hand washing and stay home from work or school so they do not cause others to get sick. For information about getting a flu vaccination, contact your primary care physician, local public health department or pharmacy.