Flu Season Protection

Health and Wellness

The fall season is here. School is back, Halloween is coming, and the flu virus too. Prior to COVID-19, the flu was among the most deadly respiratory diseases that greatly affected the very young and very old. As with a lot of viruses, the flu virus is very tricky, and there is always a war going on at the microscopic level of immune systems.

The making of the annual flu vaccine is an arduous task from the World Health Organization (WHO). They know the virus will emerge in the peak season, but it’s all very nuanced and studied guesswork on which strains of the virus will dominate that season. It’s akin to the National Weather Service anticipating where a hurricane will make landfall a week out; it’s near impossible to fully predict what will happen.

What the WHO does is take a few strains of the virus they think will make the most impact and formulate the annual vaccine based on that. This is when doctors and scientists will say that it’s 40% effective one year and say it’s around 75% the next. As we’ve learned with the COVID vaccines, even if we guess wrong, some vaccination is a little more protective than nothing at all. Just as those hunkering down for a hurricane will board up their windows and get emergency supplies ready, those who get a flu vaccine can help prevent a worse illness. Even if the hurricane degrades to a tropical storm or misses entirely, it’s better to be prepared anyway.

The people supported at The Arc received their vaccines this month, courtesy of Miller’s Pharmacy. They came around to each house to administer the vaccine to those who wanted it. The people supported get the shot, snag a bagel, and then hop off to work like the rest of us. And we are grateful for that.

So, what should you do? If you are able, you should receive the flu shot even if you are healthy and young. The vaccine does a great job of preventing the spread of the virus. Do the same things as you would with COVID. Try to not go to work or see vulnerable family or friends if you think you are sick. Get tested. There have been antivirals on the market to help cure the flu, but they only work if caught early enough. Wear a mask. Social distance. There were almost no flu cases in 2020 because the same precautions for COVID worked so well against the flu virus and colds.

 

Dan JaFolla is an LPN at The Arc of Monroe. To connect with Dan, email him at djafolla@arcmonroe.org

We hope this blog is helpful to you! Our Health Services team at The Arc of Monroe is a wealth of information. Our staff is made up of experienced professionals who primarily support people with disabilities. To learn more about who they are, visit our Health Services page. If you’re interested in working with us at The Arc of Monroe, visit our careers page. If you’d like to give and help make valuable resources like this possible, you can give online