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Medical Monday 11.11.13: Flu Shot Best SHOT at Prevention This Flu Season

| November 13, 2013


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Flu season has begun. Healthcare practitioners say its not too late to practice an ounce of prevention by getting a flu shot.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say manufacturers now estimate more than 145 million doses of influenza vaccine will be produced for the U.S. market this season. That’s up from the initial estimate of 139 million doses available to the public. Local healthcare practitioners say there’s no excuse not to get your flu shot. Jennifer Tweedie is the Coordinator of Infection Prevention for the Aroostook Medical Center and says “its a very easy process nobody likes needles, never had anyone say I can’t wait for my flu shot but it is quick, its fairly painless and it’s a safe vaccine.” Tweedie adds getting the flu shot is the best protection from coming down with the virus that can lead to other health complications. “It can lead to other complications pneumonia, it can lead hospitalization. Influenza’s a very serious condition and we encourage everyone to get the shot and protect themselves and their loved ones,” she says. Its especially important that certain portions of the population get their flu shot. They include: the elderly, pregnant women, children & infants and people who have chronic illnesses. In recent years, vigilant strains of the flu like the avian or bird flu AND H1N1 have made the flu season tough. There were a lot of flu cases and even a number of fatalities. This year, Tweedie says health officials aren’t eyeing a particular strain. “The first case identified in Maine this year was H1N1 variety and that is what is being offered in the flu vaccine this year so that strain is covered so we’re very happy about that.” says Tweedie.  And she cautions general prevention practices like coughing into your sleeve and regular hand washing can keep the public from being a flu case statistic. Getting that flu shot, is perhaps your BEST SHOT at staying healthy this flu season.

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