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DocTalk: Flu Facts

Nathan LevangerBy Nathan Levanger, D.O.

There are people who think influenza is a seasonal hype promoted by medical facilities. Some folks are allergic to the formulations. Others decline vaccination for a variety of reasons. We have to make choices every day about our health and wellness, from the food we eat to the medications and supplements we take, and we all want what’s best for our families.

Here are the basic facts about the flu based on knowledge and outcomes that can be proven to be true by thousands of non-biased scientific studies:

  • It’s a contagious virus affecting the respiratory system.
  • People of all ages die each year from the flu and its complications but it’s especially dangerous for young children and seniors.
  • Similar to the common cold, the flu is contagious and you are contagious before you experience any symptoms.
  • Similar to the common cold, it can morph into different strains.
  • Vaccinations don’t always “match” the virus because scientists have to guess which strain(s) will be prevalent in the upcoming year.
  • Vaccines don’t offer 100% protection, and sometimes their effectiveness turns out to be less than 10%.
  • If you catch the flu but had a flu shot, your illness may be less severe than if you hadn’t received the vaccination.
  • Purchases of over-the-counter medications that treat symptoms of the flu generally cost a lot more than getting a flu shot, especially if the immunization is covered by insurance.
  • People miss work, kids miss school, people spread the virus, and people are hospitalized due to flu. Hospitalizations and missed work cost quite a bit more than flu shots.

Driggs, Victor and Cache Clinic are offering the quadrivalent and high dose formulation. Quadrivalent shots contain the recommended dosage for four of this year’s anticipated viruses as indicated by the current flu strains other parts of the world including Australia and Indonesia. The quad includes an additional B-strain vaccine. Trivalent shots (covering three flu strains) are available at other medical and retail sites. High dosage vaccines as recommended for people over the age of 65 or who have compromised immune systems.

No appointment is necessary to get a flu shot at any of our clinics. Remember that Cache Clinic does not bill insurance, and if you come to Cache specifically for a shot, you won’t be charged an additional exam fee unless you need and ask for an additional exam.

To learn more about seasonal influenza visit the CDC website.

This article originally appeared as a DocTalk in the Teton Valley News.

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