Community members encouraged to receive flu vaccine
With the start of the flu season nearing, Tidelands Health is encouraging community residents, and particularly those at high risk of flu-related complications, to receive a flu vaccine.
With few exceptions, everyone 6 months of age and older should get a vaccine, said Dr. Casey Mann, a family physician with Tidelands Waccamaw Family Medicine in Pawleys Island. It takes about two weeks for the vaccine to be effective.
“Getting an annual flu vaccine is a minor inconvenience considering the days of school or work you might miss if you contract the virus,” Dr. Mann said. “Although most people recover in a matter of days, the flu can also lead to serious, and sometimes fatal, complications, even among otherwise healthy people.”
Some people, including pregnant women, young children, individuals age 65 years and older and those with certain chronic medical conditions (such as asthma, diabetes and heart disease) are at higher risk of developing flu-related complications, Dr. Mann said. Individuals in these groups are a top priority to receive the vaccine.
“Although it can be easy to become complacent about getting the flu vaccine, it’s important to take the virus seriously,” Dr. Mann said. “Hundreds of thousands of people are hospitalized each year due to flu-related complications.”
Dr. Mann stressed the vaccine, which should be repeated annually to be effective each flu season, will not cause people to get the flu. The most common side effects from the influenza shot are soreness, redness, tenderness or swelling where the shot was given. Low-grade fever, headache and muscle aches also may occur.
Although the CDC recommends people receive the vaccine by the end of October, it’s still beneficial to receive the vaccine later, Dr. Mann said. The flu season can continue into May.
Individuals with questions, or those interested in receiving a flu vaccine, are encouraged to contact their health care provider.
Employers interested in offering onsite flu vaccine clinics to their employees can contact Shannon King with Tidelands Health Business Health Solutions at (843) 652-8196. The wellness program offers employers a variety of free and low-cost onsite screenings, flu shot clinics and help navigating workers’ compensation.