“We have definitely seen unusually high cases of the flu this year,” says McFarland Clinic Infectious Diseases Physician Ricardo Arbulu, MD. “This year’s vaccination is effective against the current flu strains circulating. It’s not too late to get a flu shot,” says Dr. Arbulu.
Despite the close vaccination match to flu strains, effectiveness can be influenced by other factors including who is being vaccinated. You can still get the flu even if you have received the flu vaccination, though symptoms will be milder.
“The flu vaccine is very effective in preventing symptoms in young people who received a vaccination this year and have been vaccinated in previous years,” says Dr. Arbulu. “Very ill, elderly patients have difficulty developing immunity even when vaccinated.”
Distinguishing between a cold and the flu can be difficult, but symptoms such as fever, fatigue and muscle aches can indicate it may be the flu. Not everyone who has the flu needs to see a doctor. Many people under age 50 can treat flu symptoms at home, while others should call their doctor right away.
“Patients who are pregnant, have diabetes, heart disease, chronic lung disease or are receiving cancer treatment need to see a doctor within 24 hours of the start of their symptoms,” says Dr. Arbulu.
“If you think you have the flu cover your cough. Wear a mask at the doctor’s office and wash hands frequently with soap and water or an alcohol based hand sanitizer,” says Dr. Arbulu.
“The flu can be treated, but getting a flu shot can potentially prevent hospitalizations, flu complications and death.”
Please contact your Primary Care Provider’s office to schedule an appointment for a flu shot.
Everyone should get vaccinated, especially:
- Children younger than five but especially younger than two
- Adults 65 years of age or older
- Pregnant women
- People with chronic medical conditions
- Health care workers
- Household contacts of persons at high risk for complications from the flu
- Household contacts and out of home caregivers of children less than six months of age
McFarland Clinic has a special webpage dedicated to information and videos about the flu. Visit www.mcfarlandclinic.com/flu
for additional information.
To schedule a flu shot, call a McFarland Clinic location near you.