By Laura McCormick
Practice Administrator, Medical Center
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated that last year in the United States alone, 25 million people suffered from influenza-related illnesses, resulting in 11 million flu-associated medical visits. It is the CDC’s responsibility to recommend the best possible flu vaccine based on the latest research to help minimize the impact of the disease on the public
Despite this rigorous research, the flu virus is nasty and changes constantly. It’s a game of cat and mouse trying to chase the newest strain. That’s why flu vaccines also change each year.
But preventing a flu outbreak isn’t just the responsibility of scientists and immunologists. The other half of the equation is the public’s civic duty to help protect one another by getting the flu vaccination even if you don’t think you need it. It’s about protecting your health and the health of others.
Think of those who are most at risk: your children, grandchildren, neighbors, residents with chronic health problems and our Riderwood staff. Even if you’re not worried about getting sick yourself, if you’re infected with the virus, you’re still a potential source of infection for our vulnerable populations.
The flu vaccine may not be 100% effective for everyone, but it does reduce the amount of virus that a person will potentially spread to others. This helps to avoid a larger, more serious health emergency. Last year alone, the CDC estimated that the vaccine prevented 5.1 million flu illnesses.
In addition to getting the flu shot, it is important to follow these four simple tips to prevent getting the flu:
• Clean and wash your hands thoroughly
• Avoid close contact with those who are sick
• Cover your mouth and nose
• Disinfect dirty areas in your home
• If you do get sick, stay home and rest
Remember that this flu season, it’s not just about you—it’s about friends, family and neighbors in your community. Riderwood will have flu shots available to you in September. Do your part in preventing a more serious flu outbreak for everyone! Get your flu shot.