Health Officials Urging Patients to Get Flu Shot Before Peak Season


Health officials in Michigan are telling patients that November is the perfect time to get a flu shot. Experts have said that 2016 has had a slow start to the season, which means people have had more than enough time to get their flu shots.

Contrary to popular belief, the flu shot doesn't take effect immediately after being administered. Officials push flu shots heavily because it takes several weeks for the body to produce enough antibodies for adequate protection.

One average, people in the U.S. missed eight days of work in 2013 due to occupational injuries and illnesses. One of the big reasons people suffer so much from illness is that they refuse simple vaccinations like the one guarding against influenza.

Flu season typically peaks around the middle of December and beginning of January, but can last through May. If people get their flu shots now, they should have enough protection to resist the flu.

Experts predict that this flu season will likely mimic last year's, coming on late and being especially tough on senior citizens, which is also why officials are urging more people to get their flu shots.

Even more concerning is the discovery of a new type of swine flu in Ohio and in Michigan. A 13-year-old boy and a nine-year-old boy both tested positive for a new strain of the disease. Both cases were linked to agricultural exposure at county fairs, where the children were believed to have come into contact with the infected pig.

Symptoms of the swine flu are similar to that of normal influenza, but the virus typically doesn't infect humans at the same rate it infects pigs. In fact, from 2011 to 2014, there were only 343 reported cases.

Regardless, if you start experiencing flu symptoms, you should visit your doctor immediately. But to prevent the flu and that visit to the doctor, get a flu shot.

Thomas Frieden, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, explained that a simple five percent increase in flu shot recipients could prevent "about 800,000 illnesses and 10,000 hospitalizations."

For full story, pick up a copy of the MONTH XX issue of The Allegan County News/The Union Enterprise/The Commercial Record or subscribe to the e-edition.

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