It’s that time of the year, seasons are changing and as the weather gets cooler, it seems everyone is getting sick, flu season is coming. This is the perfect time of year to get your vaccinations to make sure you’re prepared for the upcoming flu season. According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Influenza is present year round but it typically spikes between December and February in the United States.
Midtown’s Chief Medical Officer and Pediatrician, Dr. Emily Vuchetich, said it is important to routinely get the flu vaccination every year. “The Influenza virus mutates every year, enough so that last year’s flu vaccine won’t cover the new strains.”
Dr. Vuchetich recommends to get the flu vaccine between September and November, “so your body has time to build an immune response before the season strikes,” She said.
Year after year there always seems to be debate on if a person should receive a vaccination or not. One myth that goes around a lot is that people have gotten the flu from the vaccine. Flu vaccines are created using an inactive virus, it cannot infect you, Dr. Vuchetich said.
“It does induce an immune response, which can give you ‘flu-like’ symptoms, such as low-grade fever usually no higher than 100, body aches and fatigue, “ she added. “These symptoms usually only last 1-3 days and there are no long-term effects.”
She also explained that the symptoms some people claim to have are not influenza, but rather the stomach flu. Influenza results in high fever, body aches, fatigue, sore throat, cough, congestion and a runny nose. Vomiting and diarrhea don’t typically occur with Influenza. “That is stomach flu, also known as gastroenteritis, is often caused by viruses, but not Influenza.” Dr. Vuchetich explained. “Sometimes younger children may vomit with Influenza, but that is due to the age of the patient and severe cough and nasal congestion.”
Dr. Vuchetich said that although with COVID restrictions in the past it seems that Influenza has varied, possibly due to masking and sanitation regulations. “Since Covid-19 cases have decreased, I’m not sure what the Influenza season will look like,” she added.
But, it is still recommended to receive a flu vaccination prior to the flu season. And as always you should check with your primary care provider to see what other vaccinations you might need updated on. “Vaccines have been proven safe and effective,” Dr. Vuchetich said.
Midtown Health Center’s DocTalk is a collaborative effort of Dr. Emily Vuchetich, Chief Medical Officer; Dr. David Seger, Chief Dental Officer; Dr. Josh Turek, Chief Behavioral Health Officer as well as Midtown’s other providers. For a full list of Midtown’s providers, as well as more information about Midtown please visit Midtownhealthne.org.