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published on 10-05-2007

INFLUENZA PREVENTION: by Kristyn Everett, Certified Family Nurse Practitioner

Flu ShotInfluenza, “the flu,” is an acute, contagious, respiratory illness caused by the influenza A or B viruses. Influenza outbreaks are seen worldwide nearly every year; most occurring during the winter months. Flu can cause mild to severe illness and, in some cases, even death.

Flu symptoms: Fever (usually high), headache, fatigue, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle aches. Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea can occur but are more common in children than adults.

*If you have flu-like symptoms, seek medical evaluation early as anti-viral medications are available to assist in flu treatment; however they are most effective when taken within the first 48-72 hours.

Complications of flu: bacterial pneumonia, ear infections, sinus infections, dehydration, and worsening of chronic medical conditions, such as congestive heart failure, asthma, or diabetes.

: Flu viruses are primarily spread through coughing or sneezing. Healthy adults may be able to infect others 1 day before getting symptoms and up to 5 days after getting sick. Therefore, it is possible to spread the flu before you know you are sick as well as while you are sick.
• According to the Center for Disease Control, every year in the United States, on average: 5% to 20% of the population gets the flu; more than 200,000 people are hospitalized from flu complications, and; approximately 36,000 people die from flu.

Who should get vaccinated?

Anyone desiring to reduce risk of getting the flu or transmitting it to others
• Highest risk individuals: healthcare workers, children aged 6 months – 5 yrs, pregnant women, people 50 years of age and older, people any age with certain chronic medical conditions (e.g. asthma, diabetes), people who live in nursing homes and other long term care facilities, people who live with or care for those at high risk for complications from flu, including: household contacts of high risk individuals and out of home caregivers of children less than 6 months of age (these children are too young to be vaccinated).

Who should not get vaccinated?

• People who have a severe allergy to chicken eggs.
• People who have had a severe reaction to an influenza vaccination in the past.
• People who developed Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) within 6 weeks of getting an influenza vaccine previously.
• Influenza vaccine is not approved for use in children less than 6 months of age.
• People who have a moderate or severe illness with a fever should wait to get vaccinated until their symptoms lessen.


During flu season, we offer flu vaccines at routine office visits with our providers, as well as during the hours of our Flu Shot Clinic (walk-in nurse visits) beginning October 16th on Tuesday-Thursday between 8a.m.-12 p.m. and 1p.m.-4p.m. For additional information on our Flu Shot Clinics call 303-688-6900. Influenza immunity is effective two weeks after you are vaccinated and lasts for 3 months. To help prevent you and your loved ones from getting the flu this season, get vaccinated!

To your good health,

Kristyn Everett, CFNP

The use of this site is for information purposes only and is not intended nor suited to be a replacement or substitute for professional medical advice or diagnosis. The information on this site does not establish a doctor/patient relationship. Plum Creek Medical does not claim responsibility for medical information not specifically prescribed by our staff. Information on this Web site is subject to change and is deemed reliable but not guaranteed.

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