Influenza (flu) cases are rising in the United States. Outpatient visits for influenza-like illness are above the national baseline. With the simultaneous outbreaks of Covid-19 and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) this winter season, flu activity is bound to continue to stay strong. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends yearly influenza vaccine for everyone 6 months and older.
The most common symptoms of the flu are:
- Fever (temperature higher than 100 F)
- Sore throat
- Runny nose
- Muscle aches
Most people who get the flu will recover in several days to less than two weeks, but some will develop complications as a result of the flu.
Complication from flu
The influenza virus can cause a wide range of complications, some of which are very serious. Sinus and ear infections are examples of moderate complications from the flu, while pneumonia is a serious flu complication that can result from either influenza virus infection alone or from co-infection of flu virus and bacteria. Other known complications are:
- Myocarditis (inflammation or swelling of the heart)
- Encephalitis (swelling of the brain)
- Myositis (swelling and degeneration of muscle tissue)
Flu can also make chronic medical problems worse. For example, people with asthma may experience asthma attacks while they have the flu, and people with chronic heart disease may experience a worsening of this condition triggered by the flu.
Why get a flu vaccine?
Getting a yearly flu vaccine is one of the most effective ways to prevent yourself from getting sick during cold and flu season. It also helps reduce your risk of severe illness if you do get infected with the virus.
In addition to protecting yourself from illness, getting a flu vaccine also helps protect others around you who may be at higher risk for serious complications from influenza infection such as young children and older adults. The CDC also recommends that pregnant women get vaccinated as soon as possible—even during pregnancy—to help protect themselves and their unborn baby from infection.
Get your flu shot today
Make sure you are protected against influenza infection by getting a flu shot! Not only will it protect yourself but it will also help keep those around you safe too since they won’t have to worry about catching it from you if they happen to come into contact with someone who has been infected.