influenza

How to Get a Flu Shot in Detroit

How to Get a Flu Shot in Detroit

Flu season is just around the corner and according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), “During the 2017–2018 influenza season there was an estimated 959,000 hospitalizations and 79,400 deaths due to complications of influenza infection.

So nearly 1 million hospitalizations and close to eighty thousand deaths due to a vaccine preventable illness! This is why we advocate for getting a Flu Shot before the start of the Flu Season - we want to prevent people from going to the hospital and potentially dying from the flu aka influenza.

How Effective is the Flu Shot aka Influenza Vaccine?

The CDC conducts studies each year to determine how well the influenza (flu) vaccine protects against flu illness. While vaccine effectiveness can vary, recent studies show that flu vaccination reduces the risk of flu illness by between 40% and 60% among the overall population during seasons when most circulating flu viruses are well-matched to the flu vaccine. 

So, if you get the flu shot, and the vaccine is well-matched to the circulating virus, you can reduce your risk of getting the Flu by about half - that’s great!

Influenza Vaccine for the 2019 - 2020 season given to one of our patients at Plum Health DPC in Detroit, MI.

Influenza Vaccine for the 2019 - 2020 season given to one of our patients at Plum Health DPC in Detroit, MI.

How Can the Flu Shot Help Me?

There are many reasons to get a flu vaccine each year. Below is a summary of the benefits of flu vaccination:

  • Flu vaccination can keep you from getting sick with flu.

  • Flu vaccination can reduce the risk of flu-associated hospitalization for children, working age adults, and older adults.

  • Flu vaccination helps prevent serious medical events associated with some chronic conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, and chronic lung disease.

  • Vaccination helps protect women during and after pregnancy.

  • Flu vaccine can be life-saving in children.

  • Flu vaccination has been shown in several studies to reduce severity of illness in people who get vaccinated but still get sick.

  • Getting vaccinated yourself may also protect people around you, including those who are more vulnerable to serious flu illness, like babies and young children, older people, and people with certain chronic health conditions.

So, if you’re a parent with young children, by getting the Flu Shot, you can help protect your kids. If you’re someone with many chronic diseases like diabetes or heart failure, getting the flu shot can reduce your risk of these diseases worsening if you were to be infected with the flu.

What are Flu Symptoms? What Should I Look Out For?

Flu Symptoms have a broad range, but typically people come to the doctor with the following concerns:

  • Fever* or feeling feverish/chills

  • Cough

  • Sore throat

  • Runny or stuffy nose

  • Muscle or body aches

  • Headaches

  • Fatigue (tiredness)

  • Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults.

As a doctor treating folks with the flu, there’s something called the pajama sign - if you don’t have the energy to shower and get dressed into regular clothes, and you have some of the above symptoms, it’s more likely that you have the flu. Seriously - I’ve had people compare getting the flu to being hit by a truck - getting an illness as severe as the flu can feel like all of your energy has been taken away.

How Is the Flu Virus Spread?

Most experts believe that flu viruses spread mainly by tiny droplets made when people with flu cough, sneeze or talk. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby. Less often, a person might get the flu by touching a surface or object that has flu virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose or possibly their eyes.

To rephrase, someone might cough and they might have tiny droplets fly out of their mouth and land on things that you touch, like door handles, shopping cart handles, tables at a restaurant, etc… That’s why it’s so important that you wash your hands before touching your own nose and mouth and before eating. If you are sick, it’s also very important to wash your hands after coughing and sneezing. You can help lessen the spread of the flu virus by washing your hands often during cold and flu season.

For more information, visit the CDC for the most up-to-date information on the flu.

How to Get the Flu Shot in Detroit

Protect yourself and your family (and friends and co-workers) from the flu this year! To make an appointment with Dr. Raquel, head over to our scheduling link and select her as your doctor. After you submit the information, Dr. Raquel will reach out and offer appointment times. 

Thank you for reading and have a great day,

-Dr. Paul Thomas and Dr. Raquel Orlich with Plum Health DPC

Influenza Vaccine instructions for the 2019 - 2020 Vaccine Season including ingredients in the vaccine.

Influenza Vaccine instructions for the 2019 - 2020 Vaccine Season including ingredients in the vaccine.

Flu Cases Increasing

You need a flu shot. I will say it again, you need a flu shot. Flu cases are on the rise currently, see this article from the CDC. Yes, the flu most commonly affects the very young and the very old, but each year young adults are hospitalized and die because of the influenza virus. I'm writing today to dispel some myths and tell you that you can be a part of the solution.

As a part of routine care at Plum Health, I offer a flu shot to all of my members. It costs $10.53 because I buy it at wholesale and I don't mark up the cost. Inevitably, objections are raised by my patients. The most common being "I've never had the flu, so I don't see the point in getting the vaccine" or "I seem to get the flu after I get the flu shot". 

First of all, the vaccine strain produced this year is a particularly good one. The composition of U.S. flu vaccines is reviewed annually and updated to match circulating flu viruses. Flu vaccines protect against the three or four viruses that research suggests will be most common. For 2016-2017, three-component vaccines are recommended to contain:

  • A/California/7/2009 (H1N1)pdm09-like virus,
  • A/Hong Kong/4801/2014 (H3N2)-like virus and a
  • B/Brisbane/60/2008-like virus (B/Victoria lineage).

Second, you can't get the flu from getting the influenza vaccine. When you get a flu shot (influenza vaccine), I inject inactivated viral particles, not the virus itself. By giving you inactive viral particles or proteins from the virus, your body's immune system is able to recognize these as foreign and mount an immune response. During that immune response, you may have a slight temperature and you may feel tired and your body shifts it's energy to meet your immune system's needs, but you will not get "the flu" because you don't have the whole virus. 

Because you get the flu shot, your body will recognize the actual virus should you get it. When your body sees the proteins that make up the virus, it will mount an even stronger immune response, killing the virus more quickly and keeping you out of the hospital.

Common places to pick up the flu virus include door knobs, the treadmill at the gym, the grocery store key pad, the gas pump, etc... You can't possibly disinfect all of these surfaces, so just do yourself a favor, be proactive and get the flu shot.

Importantly, influenza activity most commonly peaks in the United States between December and March. Additionally, the flu season can last until May. 

I say that you can be a part of the solution because you can prevent the spread of the flu. One, get the flu shot. If you happen to get the virus, it will be easier for your immune system to fight it and you will be less likely to pass it on to your loved ones. Even if you're "fine" without it, your grand parents, parents, children, nieces, and nephews may not. So, by protecting yourself, you can protect them.

Finally, wash your hands well! This is probably one of the best things that you can do to prevent the spread of germs, viruses, and bacteria. 

Thanks for reading and have a great day,

- Paul Thomas, MD

 

Our Influenza Vaccine stock at Plum Health DPC, a Family Medicine Practice at 1759 West 21st Street, Detroit, MI 48216. 

Our Influenza Vaccine stock at Plum Health DPC, a Family Medicine Practice at 1759 West 21st Street, Detroit, MI 48216.