Swope Health is ready to assist you with fighting the seasonal flu. The best way to reduce your risk from the flu and potential complications is to get the flu vaccination.
The vaccines are available at all Swope Health clinics in the Greater Kansas City metro area, including in Wyandotte and Leavenworth counties.
To get your vaccination, call for an appointment: 816-523-5800.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention describe the annual flu season as running from October to March, although it has been known to last into May. This year, the CDC is encouraging everyone to get vaccinated before the end of October, for maximum effectiveness in taming the virus.
“We encourage everyone six months and older to get a vaccination,” said Dr. Naiomi Jamal, Chief Health Officer for Swope Health. “It’s especially important for people who are at higher risk of developing serious complications – infants, children under five, adults over 65 and people with weakened immune systems.”
The flu vaccine works by taming the flu virus, notes Dr. Demetre Daskalakis, acting director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Disease, in an interview with the American Medical Association.
This year, the CDC is promoting the notion that the flu vaccine can contain the illness, taking it from “Wild to Mild” by lessening the symptoms and illness from flu.
The vaccine “can reduce flu illness, visits to doctor’s offices, and missed work and school due to flu, as well as importantly making people feel not as bad, so symptoms become less severe,” Dr. Daskalakis told the AMA. “It can also cut back on the visits that people have to emergency departments, hospitalizations and then also ultimately the most severe outcome of flu, which is death.”
Do I have the flu?
The flu is a respiratory illness that affects the nose, throat and sometimes the lungs. The virus spreads easily with coughing and a runny nose. Other symptoms can include fever, muscle aches, headaches, fatigue and vomiting or diarrhea.
The flu can lead to complications including sinus or ear infection, pneumonia, and worsening of chronic conditions like asthma or congestive heart failure.
How do I prevent the flu?
In addition to getting a vaccine – the No. 1 recommended step — you’ll want to focus on handwashing. That’s part of the reason Oct. 15 is declared the Global Handwashing Day by a coalition of stakeholders (including the CDC) who promote hygiene as a “pillar of international development and public health.”
Proper handwashing, with soap, is an effective and affordable way of preventing diseases and saving lives, says the Global Handwashing Partnership. Handwashing prevents the spread of germs.
If you have questions about the flu, visit the CDC’s Influenza Resource Center or talk with your healthcare team at Swope Health. Make an appointment at 816-923-5800.