One hundred years ago, the 1918 influenza pandemic swept across the globe killing more than 675,00 in the U.S. and 50 million worldwide. More people died from flu that year than all civilians and military that died during World War I. One hundred years later, we are still battling the flu and losing countless lives to a preventable disease.
Flu season starts during the Fall every year and people arm themselves against it by getting a flu vaccine. The CDC recommends a flu vaccine for every person over the age of 6 months.
Once you receive your flu shot, it takes approximately two weeks for your body to develop the antibodies that protect against the flu. That’s why you should protect yourself by getting a flu vaccine BEFORE flu season begins.
Can I get vaccinated and still get the flu?
Yes. It’s possible to get sick with flu because you may have been exposed to the flu shortly before you were vaccinated or during the period it takes for your body to develop antibodies that protect you. Or, you may be exposed to a strain of flu not covered by the vaccine. Usually, there are many different strains of flu and the vaccine is designed to protect against the most prevalent strains. If you do become sick with the flu after getting vaccinated, you usually have a much milder case. Flu vaccination is not perfect but it is the best way to protect yourself against flu infection.
What happens in your body when you have the flu?
Influenza viruses usually infect the respiratory tract (your nose, throat, and lungs.) You may develop a cough, fever, sore throat, body aches. Most people recover in a few days but some people develop complications such as a secondary ear or sinus infection. If that happens, see your primary care provider or come to the Clinic on campus to be treated.
What should I do if I get sick with the flu?
Most people recover from the flu quickly with rest. It is important to stay home, rest, and treat symptoms with over the counter analgesics and cough medicines. Staying home helps you recover faster and keeps the virus from spreading. Antiviral medicines are most helpful if used within the first 48 hours of illness. The Family Health Clinic Nurse Practitioners can prescribe these medications for you.
Please call or come by the Family Health Clinic, 1525 Fobes Hall. 618-468-6800. The Clinic is open Monday-Friday, 8:00 am to 4:30 pm.
And don’t forget to get your flu shot!