PHOENIX (Sept. 14, 2017) – It’s beginning to look like an early flu season for the United States. With confirmed cases already in Arizona and Colorado, it’s important to know how to prevent the spread of the flu.
“Getting the flu vaccine is the most important thing you can do to prevent the flu,” said Joan Ivaska, senior director of Infection Prevention at Banner Health. “Besides getting vaccinated, it is important to perform hand hygiene frequently and stay home or keep your children home if they are ill.”
Ivaska urges people to get vaccinated in October before there is a lot of flu activity because it takes about two weeks to develop immunity after being vaccinated. She said the nasal flu vaccine is not recommended because it has been shown to be ineffective.
Here are five things Ivaska said people should know about the flu vaccine:
Doesn't cause the flu: The flu vaccine cannot cause the flu because it is not a live vaccination. If exposed to the flu prior to developing immunity from the vaccination, you may develop flu symptoms, but will likely have a less severe illness.
One will do it: You only need to get the flu vaccine once per season. There is no benefit to receiving another vaccine later in the season. The shot is effective for the entire duration of flu season.
Alternatives available: Flu vaccines are available egg free and Thimerosal (preservative) free.
Important news for seniors: There is a high-dose vaccine available for those 65 years of age and older.
Recommended for most: Flu vaccine is recommended for all persons 6 months of age and older.
Ivaska said that, while there are indications there will be early flu activity this year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will not begin reporting 2017-2018 season data until Oct. 1.
Flu shots are available for walk-ins in Banner Urgent Care and Banner Quick Care locations. Patients can also schedule appointments for a flu shot in their Banner primary care office.
About Banner Health
Headquartered in Arizona, Banner Health is one of the largest nonprofit health care systems in the country. The system owns and operates 28 acute-care hospitals, Banner Health Network, Banner – University Medicine, academic and employed physician groups, long-term care centers, outpatient surgery centers and an array of other services; including Banner Urgent Care, family clinics, home care and hospice services, pharmacies and a nursing registry. Banner Health is in six states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Nebraska, Nevada and Wyoming. For more information, visit www.BannerHealth.com.