By AnneMaria Duran, marketing director

Sterling Urgent Care

Flu Shot

AS THE COLD weather sets in, it becomes even more crucial that everyone receive a flu vaccination. Many are unaware that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has updated their recommendation and now recommend that everyone six months old and older get a flu vaccination every year.

There is a major reason for this: In a four-year study, from 2010 to 2014, over 350 children died from the flu. Healthy children died and medically at-risk children died. The flu can affect everyone. These numbers don’t include the adults who also died from the flu during that time.

In the study, 75% of children who died from the flu were unvaccinated. Sadly, numbers don’t convey the grief of the families left behind.

In centuries past, the flu left a path of destruction wiping out entire villages. Fortunately, improved understanding of this virus and advances in medicine mean that most people don’t die from the flu, but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t important to be vaccinated. Let’s cover some common questions that often lead people to skip a flu vaccination:

I got the flu vaccination, but I still got sick with the stomach bug. Why? Many people associate the flu vaccination with the stomach bug, popularly called “the flu.” The stomach bug is different than the flu, which is short for influenza. Influenza is a highly contagious respiratory illness.

The flu vaccination was never meant to protect against the stomach bug or the 24-hour flu.

Influenza is especially risky for young children, older adults, and those who are medically compromised. Healthy adults are at less risk of dying, but will experience great discomfort while ill, something that can be mostly avoided with a vaccination.

Why doesn’t the flu vaccination guarantee someone won’t get the flu? The flu virus is a rapidly mutating virus. There are many strains of the flu, all of which change continually. The flu Working vaccination vaccinates against three or four of the flu viruses that research shows are most likely to be the common strains in a particular season.

As a result, the virus sometimes changes beyond the effectiveness of the vaccination. But, even when the research misses a strain that becomes widespread in a particular year, the vaccination usually decreases the severity of the flu.

I got the flu vaccination last year. Do I still need a new one this year? Because the virus changes rapidly, it is important to get a flu vaccination every year. The newest vaccinations help protect against the newest mutations of the virus.

Previous year’s vaccinations are rarely effective in the new flu season because the virus has already changed so far past the vaccination that it is now ineffective.

How soon is the flu vaccination effective? It takes about two weeks after the vaccination before most people are vaccinated from the flu. This timeline can change slightly from person to person. It’s important to get yourself and your family vaccinated as early in the season as possible to reduce the chances of getting sick as much as possible