Get Your Flu Shot

It’s time.  You’ve procrastinated about as far as you can take it this year.

The CDC suggests you get your flu shot by the end of October.  That’s Wednesday.

So far so good, says Dr. Michael Altman with UT Physicians Family Medicine Clinic in the Texas Medical Center.  “So far we’ve been pretty lucky.  We’ve not seen any confirmed cases of influenza.”

Don’t try your luck.

On average flu shots are about 60% effective.  Last year turned out to be 40%, but don’t be dissuaded. Those darned viruses mutate so there’s no telling how good this year’s will be, but even if you should get the dreaded illness, a shot can lessen the symptoms.

If you have a history of heart problems, get your shot.  “Yeah, the cardiologists are recommending it to all their patients.  Get your flu vaccine,” advises Dr. Altman, an associate professor of family medicine with UT Health and a member of UT Physicians.  It actually reduces your risk of a heart attack. And if you’re over 65, he suggests, get the high dose shot.

And if all else fails, if you find yourself coming down with fever, chills, stuffed nose and coughing, call your doctor’s office immediately.  There are medications that can lessen the severity of your misery, but they must begin with 48 hours of the onset of symptoms.

Avoid shaking hands.  Flu spreads most easily by contact with the hand of an infected person who hasn’t washed their hands.  Just to be on the safe side, for the next couple months, bump elbows.  It’s safer. And wash your hands, often. Please.

Flu Shot Getty Images

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