Depending upon the season, the flu can affect anywhere from 5-20% of the population in the United States, leading to more than 31 million visits to health care providers each year. At best, the flu involves a miserable week or two where you may be laid out flat. At its worst, however, the flu can be potentially dangerous and even life-threatening.
In an effort to help you avoid the flu and its serious complications, Forest Urgent Care offers flu vaccines at our two locations in Forest Hills and Hunters Point, Long Island City, New York. Just think, a few minutes with one of our experienced specialists can save you from the misery that comes with any flu.
Here’s a look at why you should protect yourself this fall with a flu vaccine.
By the numbers
There’s a lot more to creating a flu vaccine each year than you may think. In fact, there are 142 influenza centers located in 113 different countries that do nothing but track the flu throughout the year and gather important data.
This data is then sent to five World Health Organization Collaborating Centers for Reference and Research on Influenza (the CDC in the US is one), where top scientists analyze the information to predict which strains of the virus will most likely make the rounds each year.
This information is then sent to vaccine manufacturers, which are tasked with coming up with the right composition for the best protection.
So, the flu vaccine that we administer each year is very far from a shot in the dark. There’s an incredible amount of research that goes into the flu vaccine each year, which is why we’re able to offer up to 60% protection from the flu (these results vary from one year to the next).
Protecting the young
The CDC recommends that children start getting the flu vaccine starting at six months old, which is important for babies and toddlers whose immune systems aren’t yet strong enough to fend off viral infections like the flu.
A study by the CDC found that a flu vaccine can reduce the risk of flu-associated death by a little more than half among children with pre-existing high-risk medical conditions and by 65% in healthy children.
Protecting the elderly
Just as young children have weakened immune systems, so do the elderly, making a flu vaccine a good idea. In fact, the CDC recommends that everyone over the age of 65 be vaccinated against the flu because complications, hospitalizations, and deaths due to influenza are generally most common in this age group. One study found that the flu vaccine reduced the risk of hospitalization among adults by 37% and admittance to the ICU by 82%.
Another high-risk group we’d like to highlight are pregnant women. The flu vaccine is safe for pregnant women and reduces the risk of flu-associated acute respiratory infection by half. As well, getting vaccinated during your pregnancy can help you pass on important antibodies to your newborn, helping to protect them, too.
Now’s the time for the flu vaccine
While we’ve emphasized the importance of the flu vaccine for high-risk people, the fact is that every member of the family should avail themselves of this simple protection. And now is the time to do so, before the winter (and flu) season strikes.
To get your flu vaccines, simply contact us to set up an appointment by calling or using the online booking feature. Or you can just walk in during our hours of operation. These few minutes can save you weeks, if not months, of misery this winter.