It’s flu season again, and here at Golden Gate Obstetrics and Gynecology, we want to make sure that you and your loved ones are protected! Influenza is a very serious disease that can lead to hospitalization, and even death. Even people that are very healthy can get sick from the flu, and have the potential to spread the disease to others in their family or community. Flu season in the United States typically runs from October to May, and it is recommended that you receive your vaccine as early in the season as possible.
Although the strains used in the 2014-2015 vaccine are unchanged from last year, it is still strongly recommended that those over 6 months of age get vaccinated every season as the body’s immune response from previous vaccination declines over time. Pregnant and postpartum women are at higher risk of severe illness and complications from influenza due to changes in their immune system, heart, and lungs. By choosing to receive a vaccination during pregnancy or early in the postpartum period, you can help prevent infection for yourself and your newborn, who is still too young to be vaccinated. Preservative free flu vaccines are completely safe, and can be given at any point throughout pregnancy, or during the postpartum period (including for those that are breastfeeding).
COMMON FLU MYTHS:
FLU MYTH #1: The flu vaccine gave me the flu
- The flu vaccine contains an inactivated form of the virus and will never give you the flu. It takes about two weeks for antibodies to develop after you receive the flu shot. If you find yourself sick after receiving the flu vaccine, it is highly likely that you were exposed to the virus prior to being vaccinated, or during the time it takes for antibodies to develop. Additionally, you may have been exposed to a strain of the virus that was not included in this year’s composition. While you may experience some soreness, tiredness, or low grade fever after receiving the vaccine, these side effects are mild and short-lasting.
FLU MYTH #2: The flu is only deadly among the elderly. I’m young and healthy so I don’t need to get vaccinated
- If you’re in good health, you will likely recover from the flu without complication. While it is true that most people who become seriously ill or die from the flu are over the age of 65, symptoms of the flu are often severe and can cause even the healthiest individuals to miss school or work.
- The flu can also be particularly dangerous to young children. Those under 6 months of age cannot receive the flu vaccine, and are still developing their immune systems. If a child is exposed to the virus, there is a high chance of contagion and subsequent hospitalization. In order to protect those in the community that cannot get vaccinated (children, immune compromised, those with egg allergies), it is necessary to achieve a high level of vaccination rates among healthy adults.
FLU MYTH #3: If I get the flu, I’ll just take antibiotics
- Antibiotics can only be used to treat bacterial infections. The flu is caused by a virus, so antibiotics will have absolutely no effect on any strain of this disease.
FLU MYTH #4: I already had the flu this year, so I don’t need to get the vaccine
- Most people assume that if they have had the flu recently, they can’t get it again and thus don’t need the vaccine. Unfortunately, there are multiple strains of the flu circulating in any given year, and there is a high likelihood that you could be infected again with a different strain. No one likes being sick with the flu twice, so make sure to get vaccinated once you fully recover from the first virus.
FLU MYTH #5: Vaccinations are dangerous
- In recent years, there has been growing mistrust of vaccines, including the belief that ingredients in vaccines can cause autism. There is absolutely no scientific evidence supporting this link, and our doctors strongly encourage receiving the seasonal flu vaccine along with any other recommended vaccinations and/or boosters.
Call our office at (415) 666.1250 to schedule an appointment to receive your flu shot today!
- To read more about the 2014-2015 flu season, please visit the Centers For Disease Control’s website: http://www.cdc.gov/flu/
- To see where cases of influenza are being reported in your community, check out Flu Near You’s interactive website: https://flunearyou.org/