While many welcome fall with its festivals and foliage, there is one far fewer residents wish to anticipate: the flu.
According to Patient First, the seasonal influenza is a contagious respiratory illness that can cause mild to severe illness, even resulting in hospitalization or death.
One way many health officials say will prevent residents from getting a severe case of the flu is to get a vaccine. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says those 6 months old and older should get a flu vaccine this season.
Boiling Springs Family Medicine physician Dr. Chad Jumper talked about the flu vaccine and who is at risk for the flu.
Q: When is flu season?
A: “Flu season can last from fall through early spring.”
Q: Are there changes to which flu strains are in the vaccine this year?
A: “Two of the four strains included in the vaccine have changed from last year to this year.”
Q: Why was 2014’s flu vaccine not effective?
A: “In 2014, the predominant strain of flu virus that hit the United States had mutated. That meant that the vaccine was not effective in preventing infection, as it had been prepared to combat a differed virus strain altogether.”
Q: Why are doctors no longer promoting nasal-administered flu vaccines?
A: “The nasal vaccine is not recommended this year as it was not effective in preventing flu infections.”
Q: Who is at higher risk for the flu, and who should consult a doctor before getting a flu shot?
A: “Those at higher risk for the flu include infants and younger children, those with immune system problems, patients who suffer from diabetes and lung disease, and the elderly. Patients with a history of immune system problems, treatment with chemotherapy or steroids, severe allergies including egg allergy, and recent illnesses should consult a physician before receiving the flu vaccine.”
Dr. Chad Jumper is a family practice physician at Boiling Springs Family Medicine and is board certified in family medicine. Check Boiling Springs Family Medicine on Twitter @DrChadJumper and on Facebook. This information is intended for educational purposes. Please consult your health care provider for advice about treatments that may affect your individual health.