In the U.S., millions of people get the flu every year, hundreds of thousands of people are hospitalized, and thousands die from flu-related causes. The flu vaccine is the single most effective action you can take to protect yourself from the influenza virus. Simply put, it’s your best defense against the flu and an investment in Better Health.
When it comes to your health, knowledge is power, and it’s always our goal to equip you with the necessary knowledge so you can make the best decision for yourself and your health. We interviewed VIPcare primary care provider Dr. Samuel Alfano to provide advice on protecting yourself from the flu and getting a flu shot. Read his responses below.
Is the flu shot safe?
Yes. The flu vaccine has a good safety record and has been extensively researched by researchers, doctors, and health organizations.
Where can I get the flu shot?
Flu shots are widely available. You can schedule an appointment with your VIPcare primary care physician or visit almost any large national pharmacy chain to receive your vaccination. Click HERE to find a VIPcare physician near you!
When should I get the flu shot?
Flu season typically lasts from October to May. It’s recommended that you get the flu vaccination by the end of October; however, it’s rarely too late to get a flu shot. Flu activity peaks between December and February, so to ensure you are protected, it’s ideal to get the flu vaccine sooner rather than later.
Does the flu vaccine work right away?
No. It takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body and provide protection against the flu.
Who should and shouldn’t receive the flu shot?
The CDC recommends that everyone 6 months of age and older get an annual flu vaccination. Individuals with a severe allergy to eggs or any of the ingredients in the vaccine, who have had Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS), or who are not feeling well should speak with their doctor before getting a flu shot.
Can I get the flu from the vaccine?
This is a widespread myth, and despite what many believe, the flu vaccine cannot cause the flu illness. The flu shot is made from an inactivated virus that’s unable to transmit infection.
What are the side effects of the flu shot?
You may experience some mild side effects from the flu vaccine, including soreness at the injection site, headache, fever, nausea, and body aches. Side effects shouldn’t be a reason for alarm and should go away on their own.
What other actions can you take to prevent the flu?
In addition to getting the flu shot, washing your hands frequently and covering your mouth and nose when you cough and sneeze can help prevent the spread of germs and the flu. Cleaning and disinfecting commonly used services are also beneficial.
Protect Yourself, Get the Flu Shot
There are so many reasons why you should get a flu shot. The vaccine is quick, easy, and effective. It may not completely prevent you from getting the flu, but it will most definitely help to keep you out of the hospital and from having life-threatening complications. If you have questions or concerns regarding the influenza vaccination, don’t hesitate to contact your VIPcare physician today! And if you reside in The Villages or the surrounding area, schedule an appointment with Dr. Alfano by calling 866-926-3831.
About Samuel Alfano, D.O.
Dr. Samuel Alfano is a board-certified physician specializing in Internal Medicine. He attended Lehigh University in Bethlehem, PA, to study engineering and computer science before earning his medical degree at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. He completed his residency at Geisinger Medical Center in Danville, PA. Dr. Alfano has over 41 years of experience and is skilled in providing senior-focused care. Read more about Dr. Alfano HERE.