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Flu vaccine, what you need to know

Hospital news | Thursday, February 9, 2017

Contact: Crossing Rivers Communications

“Anyone can get flu, or influenza. It is a contagious viral infection that strikes suddenly and can last several days. It spreads around the United States every year, usually between October and May,” explained Holly Griswold, Board Certified Family Nurse Practitioner with Crossing Rivers Health Clinics in Prairie du Chien and Fennimore. “Flu is spread mainly by coughing, sneezing, and close contact. Symptoms vary from mild to severe, and by age. They may include fever and chills, sore throat, muscle aches, fatigue, cough, headache and runny or stuffy nose. Flu can also lead to pneumonia and blood infections, and cause diarrhea and seizures in children. If you have a medical condition, such as heart or lung disease, flu can make it worse.”

Flu is more dangerous for some people. Infants and young children, people 65 years of age and older, pregnant women, and people with certain health conditions or a weakened immune system are at greatest risk.  Each year thousands of people in the United States die from flu, and many more are hospitalized.

Holly Griswold adds, “Flu vaccine can keep you from getting flu, make flu less severe if you do get it, and keep you from spreading flu to your family and other people.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends annual influenza vaccination of all persons six months and older without contraindications. Also important, some children six months through eight years-of-age will require two doses of flu vaccine for adequate protection from flu. There is no live flu virus in flu shots; they cannot cause the flu. There are many flu viruses, and they are always changing. Each year a new flu vaccine is made to protect against three or four viruses that are likely to cause disease in the upcoming flu season. But even when the vaccine doesn’t exactly match these viruses, it may still provide some protection. It takes about two weeks for protection to develop after vaccination, and protection lasts through the flu season.

“With any medicine, including vaccines, there is a chance for a reaction. These are usually mild and go away on their own, but serious reactions are also possible. As with any vaccine, it is always a good idea to discuss the flu vaccine with your healthcare provider and if it is right for you,” stated Griswold.

Crossing Rivers Health Clinics are located in Prairie du Chien, next to Crossing Rivers Health Medical Center, and in the Health Science Center building on the Southwest Tech campus in Fennimore. Appointments at either clinic may be made by calling 608-357-2500. The providers offer comprehensive family care including annual health and wellness visits, prenatal and obstetrical care, well-child check-ups, preventive medicine, immunizations, women’s health, acute illness care, chronic disease management, and DOT physicals.

Individuals are encouraged to visit crossingrivers.org to learn about the 100 plus services and programs available through Crossing Rivers Health and to like Crossing Rivers Health on Facebook to receive notifications on upcoming events and activities.