Flu Shots and Flu Symptoms: Adults, children and the elderly should take precautions as the flu season approaches and the nation faces a shortage of the Influenza vaccine. Children are 2-3 times more likely than adults to get the flu and frequently spread the virus to others. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, from November to March each year, 35 million to 50 million Americans will suffer from influenza or “the flu.” Although most people recover from the illness, the CDC estimates more than 100,000 people are hospitalized and more than 20,000 die from the flu and its complications every year.
According to Margaret Bruya, assistant dean for academic health services at the WSU Intercollegiate College of Nursing, flu symptoms usually start as cold-like symptoms, such as a sore throat and runny nose. Immediately, fever, chills, muscle aches and pains, a severe headache and weakness set in. The flu vaccination is the best preventative action one can take to avoid the seasonal bug.
However, with the vaccine shortage this year, the best prevention and treatment remedies include avoiding crowds and frequent hand washes. Those who are ill should stay home from work and avoid public places. Those who experience a runny nose should use disposable tissues only once, toss it into waste receptacle and wash hands after using. Individuals age 2 to 64 with underlying chronic medical conditions should be protected by limiting contact or avoiding contact with people other than family members. Babies under age 6 months should have limited contact with people other than family members, especially crowds. Those with babies who are cared for in a commercial day care should inquire about the immunization status of the providers.
Although people can still get the flu, a vaccination will help prevent and lessen the severity of the illness. Contact a health care provider or local pharmacy for information regarding flu shot availability and administration. Priority groups for the Influenza vaccination include:
- all children aged 6-23 months
- adults 65 years and older
- persons age 2-64 years with underlying chronic medical conditions
- all women who will be pregnant during the influenza season
- residents of nursing homes and long-term care facilities
- children age 6 months to 18 years on chronic aspirin therapy
- health care workers involved in direct patient care, and
- out-of-home caregivers and household contacts of children under 6 months
The People’s Clinic network includes nurse-managed health care outreach clinics established by the WSU Intercollegiate College of Nursing in 1998 to increase access to health care throughout