girl washing her hands

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

It’s officially fall, which means pumpkin patches, busy school schedules and football. It also means it’s time to get your annual influenza (flu) vaccination. 

Getting a flu vaccination every year is the best way to protect against the flu. Although some people who get vaccinated still get sick, studies have shown the vaccination reduces the severity and duration of the illness.

Here are some key stats from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that illustrate why an annual flu vaccination is so important.

Flu prevention by the numbers

1: The number of days a healthy adult may be able to infect others before their flu symptoms develop. Adults may also infect others up to five to seven days after becoming sick. By getting vaccinated, you are protecting yourself and others around you.

6 months: The age a person can begin receiving a flu vaccine. The CDC recommends everyone 6 months or older receive a flu vaccination each year. It is especially important that pregnant women, young children, seniors over age 65 and people with chronic medical conditions get vaccinated. Studies have shown that vaccinating pregnant women helps protect the baby from the flu for several months after birth before the baby can be vaccinated.

7 months: The length of the flu season each year, extending from October through May. It is best to get vaccinated by the end of October. If this isn’t possible, it is not too late to get a vaccination in November, December or beyond. Flu season often peaks around February.

14: The average number of days it takes after vaccination to develop antibodies that protect you from the flu. By getting your flu vaccination early in the season, your body can develop antibodies in time to protect you when the flu comes to town.

49 million: The estimated number of flu-related illnesses in the United States during the 2017-2018 flu season.

7 million: The estimated number of illnesses in the United States that the flu vaccine prevented during the 2017-2018 flu season. This is about the population of New York City.

960,000: The estimated number of flu-related hospitalizations in the United States during the 2017-2018 flu season.

109,000: The estimated number of hospitalizations in the United States that the flu vaccine prevented during the 2017-2018 flu season.

79,000: The estimated number of flu-related deaths in the United States during the 2017-2018 flu season.

8,000: The estimated number of deaths in the United States that the flu vaccine prevented during the 2017-2018 flu season. Improving vaccination rates across the country will reduce the number of flu-related deaths and hospitalizations.

Free Flu Clinic

Norman Regional Health System is offering a free adult and pediatric flu shot clinic on Saturday, Nov. 2 at Norman Regional Moore, located at 700 S. Telephone Road. The fourth annual Say Boo to the Flu vaccination clinic is from 9 a.m. to noon, or until supplies are gone. The walk-in clinic offers free flu shots for both adults and children ages six months and older on a first-come first-served basis. The clinic is provided by funding from the Norman Regional Health Foundation. Moore Pediatrics staff will be administering the pediatric flu vaccines. This clinic is free to the public and insurance forms are not needed to receive the free shot.

Other tips on staying healthy 

In addition to a flu vaccination, it’s also important to exercise; keep your stress level down; make healthy food choices; get plenty of sleep; and limit your exposure to people who are sick during cold and flu season. Also, don’t forget to practice good hand hygiene by washing your hands or using hand sanitizer often, and coughing and sneezing into your elbow.

Although these are great tips on staying healthy, we know that your family will get colds and other illnesses. If you need medical advice, Norman Regional has you covered. Learn more about Norman Regional Virtual Care or log on to visit with a provider 24 hours a day, seven days a week from the comfort of your home or office. It’s quick, convenient and only costs $45 for each visit.