Unfortunately, the flu is a common
illness this time of year. It is a
contagious respiratory illness caused by the influenza virus. Common symptoms include fever, headache,
muscle or body aches, feeling tired, cough, sore throat, and a runny or stuffy
nose. While some symptoms mimic the
common cold, it is different from a cold.
In most cases, the flu causes mild to moderate illness, but it can lead
to severe illness, and complications can lead to death.
People with the flu can spread the
virus before, during, and after they
are sick. Flu is spread mainly by
droplets made when people who have the flu cough, sneeze, or talk. Viruses can also spread on surfaces, but this
is less common. Anyone can get the
flu. Some people – like very young
children, older adults, and people with some health conditions – are at high
risk of serious complications.
The flu generally peaks in Missouri
from December through February. Everyone 6 months of age and older should get a flu
vaccine every season. Because it takes
about 2 weeks before antibodies build up in your system to protect you from the
flu, it is important to receive your vaccine prior to flu season
(October-May). Do not wait to get immunized against the flu!
You cannot get the flu
from a flu shot. In most cases, individuals receiving the flu vaccination
experience no or mild reactions that can include soreness at the shot site,
aches, headache, and itching. Rarely do
serious complications occur. The health
professional administering the vaccine will review your health history, and let
you know if you should not receive the flu shot.
You have many options
to obtain a flu vaccination. Many
physician offices, pharmacies, and health departments offer the flu vaccine,
and many insurance companies pay for the injection. The Joplin City Health
Department, at 321 E. 4th Street carries influenza vaccine for the
uninsured, Medicaid, and many insurances. City residents may call or come by
the Joplin Health Department at 321 E. 4th Street, and let us see if
you qualify through your insurance.