Medical Moment: Who Should Get a Flu Shot?

Medical Moment: Who Should Get a Flu Shot?


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Eric C. Johnson, Primary Care Practice Manager, Family Nurse Practitioner

Eric C. Johnson, Primary Care Practice Manager, Board-certified Family Nurse Practitioner

Nurse practitioner Eric Johnson takes on this week’s topic: Who should get a flu shot?

Fall is in the air, so flu season is not far behind. Now is the time to get your seasonal flu vaccine. The shot is recommended annually by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) for everyone age 6-months and older.

Influenza is a highly contagious respiratory illness that is spread by coughing and sneezing and can cause serious illness, particularly in the very young and older. In its worse forms, influenza can also lead to death. It is especially important for people with asthma or other lung disease, diabetes, heart disease or other chronic illnesses to understand just how bad influenza can get.

Getting a flu vaccination not only protects everyone from a serious illness. It can also protect the people around you from getting the flu as well. Notably, for families with newborns less than 6-months-old, it is important to vaccinate anyone who will come in contact with the infant. This form of security is known as ring vaccination.

The circulating strains of flu can change from year to year, which is why it is so important to get vaccinated with every year’s specific vaccine. What’s more, immunity from the vaccine wanes over time. Bottom line: thereare very few contraindications to getting a flu vaccine. And the vaccine does not give anyone the flu, though some people may experience minor side effects.

There are now many different forms of the flu vaccine, so a discussion with your health care provider should help you choose the most appropriate vaccine for you and your family.

Vaccines are widely available and can be obtained at the Telluride Medical Center, San Miguel County Public Health, and most of the larger pharmacies. Flu vaccines are generally covered by most health insurance plans and many locations even offer discount rates.

Call your health care provider today and schedule an appointment.

 Editor’s note: The Telluride Medical Center is the only 24-hour emergency facility within 65 miles. As a mountain town in a challenging, remote environment, a thriving medical center is vital to our community’s health.

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