Got chills? Are they multiplying? Then it's probably the flu calling for you. If you want to pop out and get a flu shot before reading on, we don't blame you. While it takes about two weeks for the flu vaccine to fully kick in, you will have some protection immediately and it could help lessen symptoms and duration if you do get sick.
Each year, more than 200,000 adults and children are hospitalized from the flu. The best way to prevent the flu — a contagious respiratory illness with symptoms such as fever, cough, runny or stuffy nose, body aches and fatigue — is to get the flu vaccine. Flu shots for the whole family are available at dozens of CareNow Urgent Care clinics cross North Texas for just $20 apiece while supplies last.
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What’s Your Flu IQ?
Think you're an influenza expert? See how many of these can you answer correctly.
Q: Should I go to the ER with flu symptoms?
A: Maybe. Seek emergency care within the first 48 hours if you:
- Are having trouble breathing
- Are vomiting excessively and can't keep anything down
- Have a lung disease like asthma or COPD
- Are under one year of age or over 65
- Have a compromised immune system, such as from chemo or steroid therapy
- Are pregnant
Manisha Gupta, MD, an emergency medicine physician from Medical City Denton, discusses when to go to the ER with flu symptoms.
Q: Can you get the flu from a flu shot?
A: No. The virus in flu shots is inactivated and can't make you sick. It's possible to come down with the flu soon after getting a flu shot, but that can be for one of two reasons:
- You were exposed to the flu before your flu shot took effect (it takes about two weeks to provide full protection)
- You caught a strain of the flu that wasn't included in your vaccine
Q: Do I need to get a flu shot if I got one last year?
A: Yes. For two reasons:
- Immunity decreases over time (especially in older people)
- The current strains of the virus may be different from last year's
Q: Can I get a flu shot if I already have a cold AND I'm allergic to eggs?
A: Yes. Unless you have a fever over 101°F or another significant illness, you can get a flu shot before your cold symptoms are gone. Likewise, CDC guidelines state that flu shots are safe for people with egg allergies.
Q: Can't I just skip the flu shot and get antibiotics if I get the flu?
A: No. Antibiotics fight bacterial infections, not viruses. If your flu gets serious, it can cause bacterial infections such as pneumonia, in which case you may be prescribed an antibiotic.
Q: Should I feed a cold and starve a fever?
A: Yes and no. Feed your cold AND your fever with plenty of liquids to prevent dehydration, healthy foods to keep your body well-nourished and lots of rest. And yes, a big bowl of chicken soup is just what the doctor ordered.
Q: If I get a flu shot, is that all I need to do to avoid getting sick?
A: Definitely not! Stay at least 6 feet away from sick people and wash your hands frequently and correctly. If you do get sick, protect others by covering your mouth when you cough or sneeze.
If the flu comes calling for you, one of our many Medical City Healthcare ER locations has you covered. With average wait times posted online, if you do have an emergency, you can spend less time waiting and more time on the moments that matter most.
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