Like it or not, flu season is just around the corner. Home Health United can help you get ready by sharing some myths, facts, how’s and why’s of influenza and flu vaccinations.

As most people know, flu is a respiratory illness caused by the influenza virus. It is highly contagious, and symptoms can range from mild to severe.

Worksite Flu Clinics Offered

Home Health United is offering worksite flu clinics for employers in a special arrangement that delivers discounts to Alliance members. For more information about how to host a flu clinic at your site, please contact Lindsey Schaaf at 608.276.7584 or info@hhuvns.org.

Steps you can take to reduce your risk of flu include:

  • Avoiding close contact with someone who is sick.
  • Staying home when you are sick.
  • Covering your mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing.
  • Washing your hands often.
  • Avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Practicing other good health habits, like disinfecting frequently touched surfaces, getting plenty of sleep, and drinking lots of fluids.

Getting Vaccinated: Myths and Facts

The best and easiest way to defend yourself against flu is to get vaccinated. Here are some myths and facts about vaccination.

Myth: It is recommended that everyone older than six months of age get vaccinated. But what if you were vaccinated last year? Isn’t that good enough?

Fact: “No,” said Julie Hitt, Home Health United’s Director of Xtra Care. “Circulating flu viruses change year to year. It is important to get vaccinated every year to protect against the viruses that may not have been included in the previous years’ vaccines.”

Myth: Once you get flu, you can’t get it again.

Fact: Also false. Again, since flu viruses change every year, it is possible to get flu multiple times. Your natural antibodies that develop against the virus after you’ve had it don’t protect against any new strains of influenza.

Myth: Some people refuse to get vaccinated because they believe the vaccine itself is what gave them the flu.

Fact: Since the viruses in the vaccine are inactivated (killed), it is impossible to get flu from the vaccine alone. While mild fever is one of the possible side effects of the flu shot, people who get true flu-like symptoms after receiving the vaccine likely contracted it for one of the following reasons: they came in contact with the virus during the two week period following the vaccine it takes for the antibodies to develop; the influenza strain they were infected with is one that the seasonal vaccine doesn’t protect against; or because of their age and/or health status they develop less antibodies to the virus.

The Number One Method of Prevention

Why should you even get vaccinated in the first place? It’s a fact that the flu vaccine is still the number one way to prevent getting the virus. Not getting the flu means less days of missed work, less visits to the doctor, and less antiviral medications.

If you do get flu this season, symptoms you may experience include: a fever or feeling feverish/chilled; cough, sore throat or runny nose; muscle, body or headaches and fatigue. Vomiting and diarrhea, which people often associate with flu, is actually a symptom seen more commonly in children than adults.

Now you know why you should get the vaccine; the next question is where you should get it? Home Health United works with The Alliance to help employers offer worksite flu clinics (see box).

Julie Hitt Giving Flu Shot

Julie Hitt administers a flu shot.

Another option is attending Home Health United seasonal public clinics in the communities we serve. Check the Home Health United website for a complete list of flu clinics. Special features of our clinics include administration by a nurse; preservative-free and latex-free vaccinations; and a no-shot “nasal spray” vaccination option for people ages 2 to 49.

Home Health United provides thousands of shots across Wisconsin every year. We’re happy to help people learn the facts – and avoid the flu.

 

Julie Hitt

Julie Hitt

Guest Blogger, Director of Xtra Care at Home Health United
HHU is an Alliance network provider and a nonprofit home care agency providing home health, palliative care, hospice, community health services, infusion pharmacy and home medical equipment. To learn more about Home Health United, please visit www.HomeHealthUnited.org or call 800.924.2273.
Julie Hitt

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