We’ve been fortunate to have enjoyed some of the best summer weather on record. But these beautiful, warm days will soon fade, as we enter the cool, crisp weather of fall. And who knows what this winter will bring? One thing we do know is that we want to stay healthy during the winter months. And one of the best ways to do just that is to get your annual flu shot. It’s the single best way to prevent the flu.
You can get your flu shot at one of the public flu clinics held at convenient locations in communities throughout Rutland County and in Dorset and Rupert. Rutland Area Visiting Nurse Association & Hospice (RAVNAH) has scheduled a number of community flu clinics for peoples age 18 and older, starting September 21.RAVNAH offers regular strength flu and pneumonia vaccines and a high dose flu vaccine especially developed for people age 65 and older. Ask your doctor if the high dose vaccine is right for you.
When should I get a flu shot?
Here in Vermont flu activity most commonly peaks in January or February. Getting vaccinated any time between September and November can ensure you have immunity to protect yourself through the flu season.
Who should get a flu shot?
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends flu shots for:
- Anyone 6 months of age and older.
- People with chronic health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease or asthma.
- People with weakened immune systems.
- People who live with, or provide care for, children and adults.
- Women who will be pregnant during the flu season.
Who should get a pneumonia vaccine?
The Centers for disease Control (CDC) recommends pneumonia vaccinations for:
- All adults 65 years of age and older
- Anyone 2 through 64 years of age with a chronic illness
- Anyone 19 through 64 years of age who is a smoker or has asthma
- Women who smoke or have asthma, have a chronic illness or compromised immune system should be immunized before becoming pregnant.
Preventing the Flu
The first and most important step is to get a flu shot, but practicing good health habits can also help. Here are some tips to keep the aches, pains, sneezes and sniffles at bay:
- Wash your hands well and often throughout the day or use sanitizing hand rub.
- Avoid touching your eyes, mouth or nose.
- Avoid close contact with those who are ill and stay home if you are sick.
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, not your hands.
- Get plenty of sleep, drink lots of fluids and eat nutritious foods, stay physically active and manage your stress.
If you get sick with the flu
Unlike the common cold, flu symptoms are usually more severe and can come on suddenly. Call your health care provider if your flu symptoms are very serious or if you have chronic health conditions. Common flu symptoms include:
- fever (usually high)
- headache, muscle aches, chills
- runny or stuffy nose, sore throat , dry cough
- extreme tiredness
- vomiting and sometimes diarrhea (more often in children)
For a full listing of RAVNAH’s public flu clinics, visit www.ravnah.org or call RAVNAH’s flu hotline at 770-1574.