Contrary to what many think, the flu is not a tummy ache. The flu is a contagious respiratory virus that will often cause fever, sore throat, cough, body aches, runny or stuffy nose, headaches and fatigue. People already infected with the flu can spread the virus to others even before they feel sick.
You can prevent the flu by regularly washing your hands, staying home when ill, taking advantage of the clean wipes as you enter grocery stores and wiping the handles on your shopping cart – and, of course, through the annual flu vaccine.
Typically, many people wait to get the vaccine until later in the fall or early winter, but the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) is urging residents to get flu vaccines now.
By late August, many Michigan residents were testing positive for the seasonal virus, confirming the first reported case of influenza. A resident who attended a conference in Grand Rapids, along with two family members, tested positive for the virus after approximately 120 attendees of the conference reported illnesses. Testing is ongoing in Michigan.
“Now is the time for Michigan residents to get their flu immunizations to make sure they are protected from the season,” said Dr. Eden Wells, chief medical executive for the MDHHS. “The flu should be taken seriously because it can have serious and even deadly consequences.”
Who should get a shot? MDHHS recommends everyone 6 months of age and older should receive a flu vaccine every year. It is especially important that children, adults ages 65 and older, and those with compromised immune systems take advantage of the vaccine.
It takes about two weeks for the vaccination to completly take effect, which is why the MDHHS is recommending the vaccinations now. There is no way to know when flu activity will be widespread in communities.
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