Every flu season is a bit different, but some things stay the same every year.
- People of all ages get flu.
- People are hospitalized with flu.
- People who get a flu shot are less likely to become sick.
A flu shot can keep people from missing work or school. It can also help you avoid out-of-pocket costs and general misery.
“Getting your flu shot can be the difference between getting sick and staying healthy,” said Safina Koreishi, medical director at CareOregon “It can also be the difference between getting sick but not ending up in the hospital.”
Flu season starts in October. Since the vaccine takes about two weeks to become fully effective, get your shot in September for protection during the whole flu season. Most health plans cover the shot at no cost, because it is preventive care. Yamhill Community Care Organization members pay no fee.
High risks. The Centers for Disease Control says nearly everyone older than 6 months should get the flu shot. People at high risk of complications from flu include children younger than 2, people age 65 and older, residents of long-term care facilities, American Indians and Alaska Natives
Flu can also cause health complications for people with certain conditions:
- Heart disease
- Weakened immune systems from HIV, AIDS or cancer
Smokers get the flu more easily and get sicker from it. Free help is available to everyone at the Oregon Tobacco Quit Line at 800-quit-now (800-784-8669) or quitnow.net/Oregon. Yamhill Community Care coverage includes coaching, medication and more.
Protection. Even though flu strains – and vaccines – can vary from year to year, all flu shots offer some protection. A study published in April 2018 said even a vaccine that is only 20 percent effective can still head off a lot of flu, and as many as 20 million doctor visits.
“Any protection is better than no protection,” Dr. Koreishi said. “With a flu shot, you are less likely to become sick or to spread flu to others.”
Fast, easy, free. Getting your flu shot is your best bet for staying healthy. It’s fast and easy – you can get one at your local pharmacy without an appointment; or call your doctor’s office. And for Yamhill Community Care members, it’s free!
- Centers for Disease Control: Key facts about flu
- Flu Vaccine Finder website