Community members encouraged to receive the flu vaccine
As the start of the flu season approaches, Tidelands Health encourages residents – especially those at high risk of flu-related complications – to receive the flu vaccine.
With few exceptions, everyone 6 months of age and older should get a flu vaccine, said Dr. Roxanne Latimer, a family medicine provider at Tidelands Health Medical Park at The Market Common in Myrtle Beach. It takes about two weeks for the vaccine to be effective.
“We say it every year – get that flu vaccine,” Dr. Latimer said. “It’s a message worth repeating. The flu vaccine, which is quick and simple to receive, is the best way to prevent the flu.”
Although many people who come down with the flu recover from the virus in as little as a few days, the flu can lead to serious – sometimes even fatal – complications.
The 2018-19 flu season in the United States lasted 21 weeks, making it the longest flu season in a decade, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Some people – including pregnant women, young children, individuals ages 65 and older and those with certain chronic medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes and heart disease – are at a higher risk of developing flu-related complications, Dr. Latimer said. Individuals in these groups are a top priority to receive the vaccine.
“Ideally, you’ll get your vaccine before the first flu cases start showing up in your community,” Dr. Latimer said. “But even later in the flu season – which can last until early spring – it’s worth getting the vaccine. It’s never too late in the flu season to protect yourself from the virus.”
Dr. Latimer emphasizes the vaccine will not cause people to contract the flu. The most common side effects from the flu shot are soreness, redness, tenderness or swelling where the shot was given. Low-grade fever, headache and muscle aches also may occur, but many people show no side effects after receiving the vaccine.
“Any side effects a person may experience certainly are easier to handle than a full-blown case of the flu,” Dr. Latimer said.
In addition to receiving the flu vaccine, people can help protect themselves during flu season by avoiding close contact with people who are sick, regularly washing their hands and avoiding touching their eyes, nose or mouth, a common way germs are often spread after a person touches a contaminated object.
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 Solutions at 843-652-8196.