Flu Shots Can Protect Yourself & Your Community

Posted on August 31, 2023 by Published by

While it remains important for people with comorbidities and those in high-risk groups to receive the flu vaccine people who are otherwise healthy should also make it a priority.

Everyone 6 months and older should get the flu vaccine yearly, says Dr. Petrikova, a doctor of family medicine at Aurora Health Center. Not only can it prevent a trip to ER or urgent care, by getting a vaccine, but it also protects against getting the virus altogether. Recovering from influenza can leave you vulnerable to other conditions because of increased inflammation in your system. Dr. Petrikova explains.

“It’s really important for healthy people to get the influenza vaccine,” says Dr. Gregory Sehring, a doctor of family medicine at Aurora Family Medicine. “There is a perspective if you’re healthy and young that it may not be a huge threat, but it does affect everyone differently and the vaccine is the best way for everyone to protect themselves.”

Not only does the flu vaccine prevent flu-related deaths and hospitalization, but it also lessens the severity should you get it. But the benefits extend beyond just individual protection. The flu vaccine also encourages herd immunity, which helps protect the community and those who cannot receive the vaccine because of allergies or too young.

“It is important to get a vaccine to protect others,” Dr. Petrikova says. “When healthy person declines a vaccine, it creates a risk for others in their community.”

The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat and sometimes lungs, resulting in symptoms like fever, chills, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle aches, vomiting and diarrhea.

Because the flu virus evolves each year, it’s important to receive the vaccine each year as it is modified to keep up with the changes of the virus as last year’s vaccine may not protect you from this year’s viruses, Dr. Petrikova says.

“More than ever, I would encourage everyone to get vaccinated, not just for influenza but the COVID vaccine as well, that’s going to be our best protection during,” Dr. Sehring says. “The more we can protect individuals through vaccination, the more it’s going to keep people healthy and prevent overwhelming the healthcare system.”

Article contributed by: Grace Wong

SAVE THE DATE: OLW will be giving Flu Shots on Saturday, September 30 & Sunday, October 1 in the Gathering Place, before, during and after all the masses, hosted by Walgreen’s Pharmacy. Walgreen’s will also have available; the High dose flu vaccine, Covid-19, Pneumonia & Shingles vaccines. Please bring your insurance or Medicare card.

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