It is that time of year…cooler temps, falling leaves, football and flu shots! It is important for you to protect yourself against the flu every year by getting vaccinated.

What is influenza?
Influenza, or the flu, is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat, and lungs and can cause mild to severe illness. It is not the “stomach flu”, which is actually a gastrointestinal illness caused by bacteria, viruses or parasites.

Why get vaccinated?
It is recommended that people living with HIV and other chronic conditions receive the flu shot each year because you are at an increased risk of developing complications if you get the flu.

How does a flu vaccine work?
Flu vaccines cause antibodies to develop in the body about two weeks after vaccination. These antibodies provide protection against infection with the viruses that are in the vaccine. It is important to get your flu shot early to protect yourself before it spreads through the community.

Why do I need to get a flu shot every year?
First, the body’s immune response from vaccination declines over time, so an annual vaccine is needed for optimal protection. Second, because flu viruses are constantly changing, the formulation of the flu vaccine is reviewed each year and sometimes updated to keep up with changing flu viruses. The flu vaccine is now available at Primary Health Care, Inc., and other clinics and pharmacies.

Please call your nurse care manager at Primary Health Care to schedule your flu shot. If you get a flu shot elsewhere, please notify your nurse so your medical record can be updated. Do this for yourself!