The start of the holiday season often coincides with the height of flu season. This holiday season, it’s especially important to protect your health and protect your community by having your annual flu vaccine.
At Nguyen Medical Group in Boynton Beach, Florida, we are proud to focus on senior citizens and their healthcare needs. Dr. Thomas Nguyen, Susan Nguyen-Mui, APRN, and the rest of our team are big believers in the benefits and importance of an annual flu shot, especially for elderly populations.
Here’s why it’s more important than ever to get your flu shot.
All about the flu
The annual flu is caused by a group of viruses called influenza viruses. This group of viruses tend to infect the nose, throat, and lungs, leading to an infection commonly known as the ‘flu.’
While they generally cause similar symptoms, the exact strains of the virus vary from year to year, which is why it’s so important to get a vaccine every year.
Flu causes a number of symptoms, including:
- Aches and chills
- Sore throat
- Gastrointestinal problems
As you may have noticed, many flu symptoms are similar to symptoms caused by COVID-19. That’s why it’s especially important to get a flu shot this year so you can be sure you’re protected against this similar-looking illness.
The impact of the flu
While most cases of flu resolve on their own after about a week, some people can experience flu complications such as sinus and ear infection, sepsis, or even pneumonia. During the 2019-2020 season, the CDC estimates that flu caused approximately 38 million illnesses, 400,000 hospitalizations, and 22,000 deaths.
Luckily, flu vaccines can prevent many of these negative outcomes. Researchers work hard to identify the strains of flu that are most likely to be associated with that year’s flu season and produce an annual vaccine to protect people.
Benefits of flu vaccines
There are a number of benefits to getting your annual flu shot. At Nguyen Medical Group, we especially encourage senior citizens to get their flu vaccine for the following reasons.
Prevent illness or reduce severity
While no vaccine is 100% effective, flu vaccines are considered to be around 40 - 60% effective, depending on whether the strains in the vaccines match the most active strains during that flu season. Additionally, while you may develop the flu even after having a vaccine, the illness is likely to be shorter and less severe than if you weren’t vaccinated.
During the 2018-2019 flu season, flu vaccination reduced the risk of flu-associated hospitalizations by about 40%. This meant that flu vaccines may have prevented an estimated 58,000 hospitalizations.
At a time when hospitals are particularly busy, reducing flu hospitalizations can prevent hospitals from reaching maximum capacity and protect you from exposure to COVID or other infections in a hospital setting.
You may be surprised to know that getting vaccinated doesn’t just protect yourself. Mass vaccination can protect your unvaccinated family, friends, and community as well.
Some people can’t get vaccinated due to chronic health conditions or immune problems. By getting vaccinated, you are less likely to pass the flu on to these vulnerable members of society.
This year more than ever, it’s important that as many people get the flu vaccine as possible, especially if you are elderly or have other health conditions. Schedule your flu shot today by calling our office at 561-203-6295 or making an appointment online.