Protect yourself this flu season
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Early signs, including a spike in influenza cases in the Southern Hemisphere, point to 2022-23 being a rough flu season. The flu has already struck parts of the U.S. extremely hard, indicating an early start to the season here.
The flu can be particularly dangerous for infants and young children, pregnant women, older adults and individuals with weakened immune systems.
The best way to protect yourself and your family from the flu is to get vaccinated. The vaccine offers protection against getting the flu as well as severe illness if you do contract the flu.
Many experts are expecting this year’s annual flu (influenza) season to be a tough one for the U.S., which has already seen a higher-than-usual surge of cases, according to the CDC. Another indicator is that the Southern Hemisphere (where the flu season happens before the Northern Hemisphere) saw a particularly bad flu season. With cases on the rise, it’s more important than ever to protect yourself against the flu by getting vaccinated.
The flu is a virus that kills more than 50,000 people every year. Many more are hospitalized. Influenza can be particularly dangerous for young children, pregnant women, older adults and people with weakened immune systems. The flu vaccine is the best way to protect you and your family from contracting the flu and from becoming seriously ill.
What are symptoms of the flu?
Common symptoms of the flu include:
- Fever and chills
- Muscle and body aches
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Sore throat
Additionally, some flu patients may experience diarrhea or vomiting, symptoms that are more common in children.
Protect yourself and your family from influenza
The single best thing you can do to protect yourself from the flu is get your flu shot. Influenza vaccines are not 100% effective, but they do significantly lower the risk of getting the flu and of having severe illness if you do get it.
In addition to getting vaccinated, many of the tactics we practiced to prevent COVID also work to protect against the flu, including:
- Avoid touching your face
- Clean and disinfect high-traffic surfaces, like countertops, regularly
- Cover your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze
- Stay away from crowded places
- Stay in good overall health with diet and exercise
- Wash your hands (or using sanitizer if washing is not available)
- Wear a mask
Finally, remember: If you are sick, stay home.
We have a flu shot ready for you
The CDC recommends an annual flu shot for everyone age 6 months and older. Around half of Americans get their flu shot every year, and it’s important to get your shot early – especially before seeing lots of friends and family during the holiday season.
The vaccine, which changes every year, includes protection against what are expected to be the most common strains of the influenza virus circulating. Because the flu virus changes so quickly, you should get an updated vaccine every year to protect against the newest strains.
It’s a common myth that the flu vaccine can give you the flu. Like the COVID vaccine, you may have muscle aches, fever or other reactions to the vaccine within a couple of days of receiving it, but this is your immune system at work. It also takes a couple of weeks for the vaccine to be fully effective.
You can get your COVID booster and your flu shot at the same time. Both vaccines are important for everyone, but especially for adults over age 65.
Visit your local pharmacy, primary care provider or Providence ExpressCare location to receive your flu shot.
Find a doctor
Your doctor can connect you to care and treatments that can improve your quality of life. If you are looking for a primary care doctor, you can search for one who’s right for you in our provider directory.
Download the Providence App
We’re with you, wherever you are. Make Providence’s app your personalized connection to your health. Schedule appointments, conduct virtual visits, message your doctor, view your health records and more. Learn more and download the app.
This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your health care professional’s instructions.