Although the United States is familiar with influenza, efforts to protect people from this disease have yet to achieve the desired effect. In fact, as NBC 4 resident physician Dr. Bruce Hansel says, 60 to 90 percent of reported flu cases could have been prevented if only more Americans were vaccinated last year. While there is certainly no shortage of flu vaccines, the challenge lies in encouraging people to go out and receive them:
Flu vaccines could saves tens of thousands of lives, but many people don’t get them because they hear things about the vaccines that are untrue, said NBC4’s Dr. Bruce Hensel.
Young people, the elderly, pregnant women, people with underlying illnesses and health workers are especially encouraged to get the vaccine.
“While those groups need it most, the vaccine is actually recommended for all people over the age of six months who don’t have an egg allergy,” Hensel said.
Time is running out as this year’s flu season fast approaches, so people must make haste to get themselves vaccinated from the disease. Those in the county seat of Snohomish County, Washington can visit an Everett urgent care facility, such as the one operated by U.S. HealthWorks Medical Group, to get their flu shots. However, getting immunized isn’t as simple as it sounds; people also have to ensure that the shots they’ll receive really offer the best protection.
Seasonal flu vaccines are classified either as ‘trivalent’ (i.e. those that protect against three kinds of flu viruses) or ‘quadrivalent’ (i.e. those that protect against four flu viruses). The difference in formulation is mostly influenced by what health officials believe would be the most common flu viruses that people will encounter in a particular season. It should be emphasized, though, that flu vaccines only protect against viruses and not diseases that have flu-like symptoms.
So far, the U.S. has encountered at least three types of flu viruses, named A, B, and C. Type A viruses primarily infect animals (particularly birds, thus the ‘avian flu’), which then infect humans through physical contact or airborne exposure. Type B viruses, on the other hand, are only prevalent among humans and usually don’t cause severe symptoms (although serious side-effects can occur). Type C viruses are also found exclusively among humans but are not as serious as the first two types.
Thanks to urgent care in Everett, people can lower their risk of developing serious complications from the flu, such as ear infections and pneumonia. It would be best for everyone to heed Dr. Hensel’s plea and get vaccinated as soon as possible. Not only will you be protecting yourself, but everyone around you, as well.
(Source: Flu Vaccines Urged as Flu Season Approaches, NBC4, September 19, 2014)