WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) Get the tissues and cough syrup ready, because flu season has begun. This year the Center for Disease Control and Prevention is strongly urging everyone, from 6-month-olds to 65-year-olds, to get their flu shots now to avoid a repeat of the dangerous flu outbreak that affected 37 to 43 million americans last year.
In Wichita Falls, the body aches and fevers have already started to pour in to our local clinic, Giving fresh-faced family care physician, Dr. Michael Henderson a new challenge in a new environment. He says during this time, doctors have to stay on top of the flu virus because every year, it changes. The flu vaccine is a different little combination of anti-viruses each time, and physicians try to match it the best with a certain type of flu. In fact, there can be 3 to 4 different strains of the flu virus. Yet, many people are still reluctant in getting their vaccinations, mostly based on bad experiences.
“The common complaint that I get from patients is, ‘I got the flu right after I got vaccinated'” says Dr. Henderson. “Usually that’s because they were going to get it anyway. Sometimes it’s not even the flu, it’s just a different illness and they attribute it to the vaccination.”
There can be unpleasant side effects and even allergic reactions to flu vaccinations that include: hives, nausea or vomiting, fever, sore throats, or coughs, but they typically don’t last as long as the actual flu virus and they’re not as deadly.
“If you already don’t handle infections very well on chemotherapy, your lungs aren’t very good from years of smoking or you’re really young and they aren’t developed, those are the people who are at risk of passing from the flu,” says Dr. Henderson.
While it remains the best preventative measure, flu shots are entirely optional and there are other ways to prevent getting and spreading the virus to others, such as:
- Washing your hands with soap and warm, running water
- Staying away from people with the flu
- Staying home from school or work to prevent the spread of infection
- Maintain a healthy lifestyle to boost immune system
Another good course of action is to find a primary care physician to avoid a trip to crowded and germ infested emergency rooms.
“As a primary care physician, we get to know you,” says Dr. Henderson. “We get to know your tendencies, your family history, you’re social situation and a lot of that plays into a role for your health. ”
If you’d like to learn more about the flu shot or set up an appointment with Dr. Henderson united regional physician group, click here.