Preventive Care is Important
Let’s Talk About Flu Shots — and More
It shouldn’t be big news to anyone reading this that preventive care is important when it comes to taking care of your health. An annual checkup is a great place to start, but there are also other things you can do throughout the year to safeguard your well being, including getting a flu shot.
Flu Vaccine Facts
The U.S Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommends everyone six months and older should get a flu vaccine. Doing so provides two important benefits: protecting you from getting the flu and preventing you from transmitting it to vulnerable people around you, including the elderly, children, and those who are immuno-compromised.
Here are a few things about the vaccine you may or may not know, courtesy of WebMD:
- It’s ideal to be vaccinated by the end of October, but it makes sense to get a flu shot any time during flu season, which can run from September to May.
- The flu vaccine can’t give you the flu because it’s made with a dead (flu shot) or weakened (nasal flu vaccine) form of the flu virus.
- Studies have found there’s no link between autism spectrum disorders and the vaccine preservative thimerosal — but for those who are still worried, thimerosal-free flu vaccines are now the standard for kids in the U.S. and available to adults who ask for it.
- You have to get vaccinated every year because flu viruses change; each year’s vaccine is unique, cultivated from the flu strains health officials think will be the most menacing that year.
- The flu vaccine contains such a low amount of egg protein that it’s unlikely to cause an allergic reaction in those with egg allergies. Anyone whose egg allergy is severe should speak to their doctor before being vaccinated — and be aware that flu vaccines made without using eggs are available.
- A high-dose version of the flu vaccine — Fluzone — is recommended for those 65 and older, since their immune systems are more fragile.
- Don’t like needles? If you’re healthy, not pregnant, and between two and 49, consider a nasal spray FluMist vaccine. And, there’s a needleless option for those from 18 to 64.
Other Preventive Care Tips
In addition to getting an annual flu shot and other standard immunizations, other examples of preventive care — typically covered 100 percent by insurance — are:
- Wellness visits, i.e., annual checkups
- Screenings for blood pressure, cancer, cholesterol, depression, obesity and Type 2 diabetes
- Pediatric screenings for hearing, vision, autism and developmental disorders, depression, and obesity
The old saying, “what you don’t know can’t hurt you,” certainly doesn’t apply when it comes to health. Preventive care is important because it helps you stay healthy and access prompt treatment when necessary, and it can also help reduce your overall medical expenses. Many types of screenings and tests can catch a disease before it starts or detect it at an early stage that’s very treatable.
If you haven’t already gotten a flu shot this year, now’s the time to do it. And if it’s been awhile since you saw a doctor, schedule a wellness visit today.