Americans today are more concerned than ever about catching the flu.
While the threat of the H1N1 virus, commonly known as “swine flu,” has driven heightened awareness of the flu season, protection against the traditional influenza virus is also of paramount importance.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), between five and 20 percent of the United States population contracts the seasonal flu each year. Flu infections lead to hundreds of thousands of hospitalizations and about 36,000 deaths from flu-related causes each year. The best way to prevent the seasonal flu is with flu vaccinations, which are widely available this year.
Retail health centers such as Take Care Clinics are offering flu vaccinations at hundreds of locations across the United States for $24.99 for patients two years old and above. Take Care Clinics are professional, walk-in health centers, staffed by board-certified nurse practitioners and physicians assistants, located at select Walgreens drugstores across the United States. Seasonal flu shots, along with a variety of other vaccinations and medical services, are available seven days a week with extended evening and weekend hours. To find a Take Care Clinic visit Take Care Health or call 1-800-Take-Care (1-800-825-3227).
Seasonal flu vaccinations are also available at most Walgreens pharmacies throughout the U.S. To check locations and availability at Walgreens drugstores, visit walgreens.
“Vaccination is the most effective way to prevent the flu and help keep people healthy during flu season,” said Sandra Festa Ryan, RN, MSN, CPNP, FAANP and Chief Nurse Practitioner Officer at Take Care Health Systems. “It is extremely important that children and adults get vaccinated to receive protection against this common, but dangerous, public health threat.”
Beyond vaccination, all Americans should take a few simple precautions to prevent catching and spreading the seasonal flu.
Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when sneezing or coughing. Dispose of tissues in the trash after use.
Frequently wash hands with soap and water, especially after coughing of sneezing. Alcohol-based hand sanitizers are also effective.
Avoid touching the eyes, nose or mouth. Viruses and infections can spread this way.
If sick with flu-like symptoms, the CDC recommends staying home for at least 24 hours after a fever is gone (without the use of a fever-reducing medicine), except to get medical care or for other necessities.