It starts so innocently – a cough, a stuffy nose, or maybe a light fever. “Maybe it’s just a cold,” you think. Before long, the symptoms become more serious as muscle aches, fatigue, and even nausea set in.
No, it’s probably not Ebola, but this common virus is just as serious. Every winter, it causes an epidemic in the United States which results in over 200,000 hospitalizations and around 36,000 deaths.¹
We simply refer to it as “the flu.”
Setting the facts straight
The influenza virus usually isn’t something we’re concerned about until we catch it, or at least until the guy with the sniffles borrows your pen. Since most people recover from the flu after a few days of bed rest, many don’t even understand how dangerous this virus can be.
The real danger lies for those that have a higher chance of contracting the flu and developing serious complications. These high-risk groups include:
- Adults over the age of 50
- Pregnant women
- Young children
- Anyone with a chronic medical condition (including asthma, diabetes, and heart disease)³
Even if you don’t fall into one of these categories, you can easily spread the disease to someone that does. So what can you do to help? One simple thing…
The case for the Flu shot
Despite what you might have heard about the seasonal influenza vaccination or “flu shot,” the benefits outweigh the risks. Getting vaccinated can prevent you from getting sick or at least make the illness less intense. One study showed that the flu vaccine was responsible for a 71% reduction of flu-related hospitalizations in adults of all ages.³
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends a vaccination for all adults above the age of 50 and seniors living in long-term care facilities. If you receive Medicare Part B benefits, your flu shot may be covered by your annual preventative services.¹
Talk to your doctor about getting a flu shot today. This one little step will help protect yourself, your family, and your friends during this busy holiday season and into the new year.
1Source: Friend to Friend Volume 22, Number 2