The holiday season has already started, and so has flu season. That’s why the CDC has designated the week of December 4 – 10, 2016, as National Influenza Vaccination Week.
Once November ends and the holiday season starts, people tend to forget about getting their flu shot. In fact, research from past flu seasons has shown that very few people get a flu shot after the end of November. And not only that, but last flu season, only 40% of those recommended to get a flu shot actually got one by the end of November. This means almost 60% of the U.S. population remained unprotected from the flu after flu season had already started.
Even though flu season has begun, it’s not too late to get your flu shot. So long as the flu virus is still circulating, you can get sick with the flu, which is why it is so important to protect yourself with the flu vaccine. And not only will you be protecting yourself, but those around you as well. Young children, the elderly, pregnant women and people with certain chronic health conditions are all at higher risk of developing serious and even deadly complications from the flu. By getting the flu shot, you are one less person who might pass the flu to these vulnerable populations.
Once you’ve gotten the flu shot, it typically takes about two weeks before your body is fully protected against the flu strains found in that year’s flu vaccine. These strains are chosen based on what is predicted to be the most common strains of the flu during the upcoming flu season. Because the flu vaccine protects against several strains of the flu, it is beneficial to get your flu shot even if you have already had the flu this season.
Say you get the flu shot during National Influenza Vaccination Week, which is December 4 – 10. That means by December 18 – 24, you will be protected against the flu — just in time for holiday travel! If you haven’t gotten your flu shot yet, act quickly to protect yourself and those around you this flu season. The longer you wait, the more likely you are to become sick with the flu this flu season.
Visit AFC Urgent Care West Long Branch to get your flu shot today — no appointment necessary.
Summertime brings many opportunities for outdoor activities. From camping and hiking to playing tag in the backyard, kids and adults alike can enjoy the warm weather. Make sure your family takes the following precautions to avoid missing outdoor fun due to mosquito and tick bites.
Before you go outside:
- Use bug repellent on your skin and clothing.
- The CDC recommends wearing an EPA-registered insect repellent that contains active ingredients such as DEET or picaridin.
- Wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants and socks to cover your skin.
- Also tuck your pants into your socks to reduce the odds that a tick will crawl up your pant leg.
- If you’re going into a brushy area or the woods, wear repellent that contains 20% or more DEET, picaridin, or IR3535 on exposed skin.
- Mosquitos breed in stagnant water, so clean up toys and other items outside that may be collecting water.
- Close gaps in your windows, walls, doors and screens to help keep mosquitos from getting into your house.
When you come back indoors:
- Take a bath or shower as soon as you can—this increases the odds that you’ll wash off or spot ticks that may be crawling on you.
- Inspect your gear and wash your clothes with hot water, followed by a tumble in a hot dryer is also important according to the CDC.
- Conduct a full body check for ticks, specifically in the following areas: in and around hair, ears, underarms, inside belly button, between legs and the backs of knees.
- If you do find a tick, remove it immediately. The easiest way to remove a tick is by grasping the tick’s head. Pull firmly but gently to remove from skin.
Don’t forget about fido!
- Check your pets for ticks.
- Use tick medication on pets that go outdoors. Ticks don’t just live in the forests and brushy areas—they can be in your yard and even in your home.
Following these guidelines as best as you can will help prevent tick and mosquito bites. It’s very important to be aware of any bites you or family receives after being outside. If you happen to get sick and suspect that a mosquito or tick is the culprit, let your AFC doctor know immediately. Our clinic is open every day with extended hours, so there is always someone available to help.