Flu Shots: Your Guide To A Healthy Flu Season
Flu Season is upon us and UPFH wants to help protect you and your family from getting sick this holiday season. Did you know 28 million flu cases affect the United States annually? Half a million people end up in the hospital every year due to the flu and over 300,000 will die.
That’s why doctors at UPFH recommend the flu vaccine, or flu shot. The flu shot is engineered to lessen the effects of the flu and is your best shot at avoiding it altogether. Get your shot today with no appointment at UPFH West Jordan or UPFH Mid-Valley in Midvale.
How Bad is the Flu Really?
The flu is more than just a seasonal inconvenience and here’s what our doctors have to say about the myths.
Myth #1: "It's just a bad cold."
The flu is not a severe cold. Its real name is influenza and it is a potentially serious respiratory illness caused by viruses that infect the nose, throat, and sometimes the lungs.
The cost of the seasonal influenza virus is $11.2 billion dollars per year.
Myth #2: "I don't need a flu shot; it's not that serious."
Unlike the common cold, the flu can result in pneumonia, bronchitis, and other severe respiratory infections.The symptoms can range from mild to severe, with complications that can lead to hospitalization and, in extreme cases, death. Even the economy suffers when it comes to the flu, costing the United States economy $11.2 billion dollars per year.
Getting a flu shot not only reduces your risk of contracting the virus but also helps protect those who may be more susceptible to severe complications.
Myth #3: "I had the flu once, and it wasn't that bad."
Individual experiences with the flu can vary widely. While some may only experience mild symptoms, others may face more severe and prolonged illness. The flu's impact can depend on factors such as age, overall health, and the specific strain of the virus.
Additionally, the flu virus undergoes genetic changes over time, leading to the emergence of new strains. This variability can make each flu season unique, with some strains causing more severe illness than others.
Should I get the flu shot?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends annual flu vaccination for everyone six months and older, emphasizing its role in preventing the spread of the virus and reducing the severity of illness.
Does the Flu Shot Work?
Flu vaccinations are 40%-60% effective at reducing the risk of getting the flu illness when the circulating viruses are well matched to the viruses used to make this season's flu vaccines. And even if you were to get sick despite getting vaccinated, you are still much less at risk of being hospitalized from your flu infection.
How do Flu Vaccines Work?
Flu vaccines, or influenza vaccines, are designed to bolster the immune system's defenses against the influenza virus.
Virus Identification: Before flu season, experts predict prevalent influenza strains. The vaccine is then crafted using a combination of these strains, employing inactivated flu viruses or key components like hemagglutinin. The flu shot is not “giving you the flu” because the flu virus is inactivated during the process of making the vaccine.
Vaccination: When administered, the vaccine introduces inactivated flu virus or its components into the body. This educates the immune system about the virus without causing an actual flu infection. The flu shot cannot give you the flu.
Immune Response: The immune system recognizes the vaccine as foreign, triggering the production of antibodies specific to the flu virus. Antibodies are proteins crucial for targeting and neutralizing the virus.
Memory Cells Formation: Memory cells, including memory B and T cells, are formed. These cells "remember" the virus and the necessary antibodies, ensuring lasting protection.
Protection: If the vaccinated person encounters the real flu virus later on, their immune system swiftly produces antibodies, preventing or minimizing the severity of the illness.
The flu virus evolves, so medical scientists develop a new vaccine each year. Scientists monitor and update the vaccine to match the latest circulating strains. While vaccine effectiveness can vary, even when not a perfect match, it often provides some level of protection and reduces symptom severity in case of infection.
Where Can I Get a Flu Shot?
UPFH is offering flu shots to everyone with no need to schedule an appointment. Patients who walk in the door and speak with our pharmacist can expect to receive their flu vaccine and be back on the road in under 30 minutes. If you have insurance, your flu shot will be covered at no cost to you. If you are a patient without insurance, depending on household income you can receive a flu shot with all but your copay of $18-$25 waived, making it cost much less.
Your Health, Our mission
At UPFH, our mission is to provide compassionate, comprehensive, quality care to empower underserved individuals, families, and communities. Thanks to generous donors and sponsors, UPFH is proud to serve patients of all income levels. Located in our offices in West Jordan and Midvale, we have medical, dental, vision and behavioral health care available, plus a pharmacy, all at discounted prices based on income and family size. Call 801-417-0131 to talk to your UPFH doctor's office about your flu vaccine options or call UPFH Pharmacy at 801-893-0033.