Don't Put Yourself or Loved Ones At Risk: Get a Flu Shot
PHOENIX (Sept. 23, 2011) – It doesn’t need to be wintertime for the flu symptoms to start. That’s why it’s not too early to get a head start on protecting yourself from the virus with a flu shot.
The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. The symptoms can be mild or severe, and can also lead to death. Older folks, young children, pregnant women, and people with certain health conditions are at especially high risk for serious flu complications. Healthcare workers should also be vaccinated for the protection of their patients. The best way to prevent the flu is by getting a flu vaccination each year.
The 2011-2012 flu vaccine will protect against the three influenza viruses that research indicates will be most common during the season. This includes an influenza A (H1N1) virus, an influenza A (H3N2) virus, and an influenza B virus.
Pregnant women are at an increased risk of severe illness and even death from seasonal flu complications, however some don’t get the vaccine for fear that it’s dangerous to the unborn baby. The flu shot given during pregnancy has actually been shown to protect both the mother and her baby (up to 6 months old) from flu.
"The flu vaccine has been shown to be safe and effective,” said Kerry Montefour, of Banner Good Samaritan Infection Prevention. “During pregnancy, mothers pass on their immunity, protecting babies in those early months of life. All pregnant women and women who expect to become pregnant are urged to get their flu vaccine."
According to the Arizona Department of Health Services, every year in Arizona:
- 5 to 20 percent of the population gets the flu
- More than 4,000 people are hospitalized from flu complications
- About 700 people die from flu.
During the 2010-2011 flu season, Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center reported 65 confirmed cases of influenza.
This year a new intradermal vaccine was approved for use by the FDA for those 18 to 64. This shot has a shorter needle and is delivered into the skin rather than the muscle. The flu mist is also available for people ages 2-49, who are not pregnant.
Flu vaccines are currently available at clinics, pharmacies, and doctor’s offices.
About Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center
Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center has been providing medical care to Arizona and the Southwest since 1911. Banner Good Samaritan is owned and operated by Phoenix-based Banner Health, a nonprofit organization. The hospital was named to the 2011-’12 U.S.News & World Report’s “America’s Best Hospitals” list for Cardiology & Heart Surgery, Diabetes & Endocrinology, Geriatrics and Gynecology. Banner Good Samaritan has been recognized as a Magnet™ facility by the American Nurses Credentialing Center, the highest honor a hospital can earn for its nursing care and practices, and has been named one of the Best Places to Work in the Valley by The Phoenix Business Journal and BestCompaniesAZ in 2007 and 2008 and one of the “Top 100 Hospitals to Work For” by Nursing Professionals magazine.