BayWellness — Fall 2015
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FLU SEASON HAS ARRIVED
Dr. Jennifer Turkish

A Flu Shot is Recommended for Everyone 6 Months of Age and Older

“Influenza is contagious,” says family medicine physician Dr. Jennifer Turkish. “People should begin getting vaccinated soon after flu vaccine becomes available.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends a yearly flu vaccine for everyone 6 months of age and older as the first and most important step in protecting against this serious disease. “Influenza is contagious,” says family medicine physician Dr. Jennifer Turkish. “People should begin getting vaccinated soon after flu vaccine becomes available, if possible by October, to ensure that as many people as possible are protected before flu season begins.” However, she notes, as long as flu viruses are circulating in the community, it’s not too late to get vaccinated.

Flu symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches, and tiredness. Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, although this is more common in children. It’s also important to note that not everyone with flu will have a fever.

“All New Jersey residents, especially those in at-risk groups, are urged to get an annual flu shot as influenza activity is expected to increase as flu season kicks in,” says Dr. Turkish. “Those who are at higher risk include children under 5 years of age, people over age 65, pregnant women, those with other chronic medical conditions, especially lung and heart disease, obesity, and the immunocompromised.”

Most people who get the flu recover in a few days to less than two weeks, but some can develop serious complications such as pneumonia, which can be life threatening. Pneumonia, bronchitis, sinus and ear infections are all examples of complications from flu.

In addition to getting a seasonal flu vaccine, Dr. Turkish suggests taking daily preventive actions like staying away from sick people and washing your hands to reduce the spread of germs. “If you are sick with flu, stay home from work or school to prevent spreading flu to others,” she says.
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