Stay in Peak Health, Get a Flu Shot
Protect yourself and your family this cold and flu season by making sure you get your flu shot.
News and Information
October 30, 2018
When to Get a Flu Shot?
Experts say October is optimal
The 2017-2018 flu season was the most severe in the past decade, with record-breaking rates of hospitalization and flu-related deaths. Nationwide, influenza sends up to 700,000 people to the hospital each year and complications include pneumonia, bronchitis, and cardiovascular problems.
To help prepare for this year’s flu season — a seasonal spike in flu activity lasting 16 to 20 weeks on average — CHI Franciscan Health is promoting flu vaccination by offering drive-through vaccinations to employees throughout October. Although flu vaccination is beneficial any time during the fall and winter months, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend October as the ideal time to receive a flu shot.
“The body takes two weeks to produce flu antibodies after a shot, so vaccination in early fall allows greater protection throughout flu season,” said Nathan Schlicher, MD, regional director of emergency medicine for CHI Franciscan Health. Children younger than 9 who are receiving the flu shot for the first time need two doses of the vaccine, spaced at least 28 days apart, so the CDC recommends giving the first dose of vaccine as early as possible.
An annual flu shot reduces the risk of a flu-related hospitalization by 60 percent, providing safe, reliable protection from a highly contagious illness, said Schlicher, MD, CHI’s regional director of emergency medicine. “Flu shots are particularly important for certain groups, like adults over 65, pregnant women, and young children, who tend to fare worse when infected with influenza. Some people can’t get vaccinated, like babies younger than six months old, so it’s especially important for others to get a flu shot to help protect those who are more vulnerable to illness.”
Each fall, the CHI Franciscan Health drive-through inoculation drill provides flu shots to its employees in a convenient mobile clinic. The entire process of receiving a shot takes just minutes, lowering the barriers to inoculation for busy healthcare employees, said Schlicher, who received his own flu shot at a CHI Franciscan Health drive-through clinic at St. Joseph Medical Center in Tacoma last week. The annual drill also helps prepare emergency response teams to provide large quantities of flu vaccine to the public during an outbreak.
“This is our sixth year offering this flu shot drill to help protect our employees and the public from illness,” Schlicher said. “It’s just one of the ways CHI Franciscan Health is working to create safer, healthier communities here in the Puget Sound.”