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CINCINNATI—Fall is in the air and so is influenza. Now is a good time to get a flu shot.
“Flu shots are just starting to roll out now, but we are expecting to see cases of influenza in the coming weeks,” says Dr. Chad Coe, assistant professor of internal medicine in the University of Cincinnati (UC) College of Medicine and a UC Health primary care physician. “Flu season starts in late September and continues through April.”
“The reason we make such a big deal about flu is because it is much more severe than your typical cold virus. Not only are you going to get the runny nose and coughing, but also you are likely to get five to seven days of high fever, chills and body aches. It is a much harsher illness,” says Coe, who sees patients at UC Health Physicians Office in Florence, Kentucky.
“It can affect the lungs more so that’s why we want to immunize area residents, if possible. We know that thousands of people across the nation are hospitalized annually with influenza,” says Coe. “It can be very serious.”
Children younger than 6 months cannot receive flu shots and individuals with severe, life-threatening allergies to the flu vaccine should avoid it. “Infants don’t have the protection so we try to make sure that parents and people around them will be vaccinated and not bring that flu virus home to them,” says Coe.
Most individuals, especially patients with chronic health or respiratory conditions, such as diabetes, heart failure or asthma, will benefit from a flu shot, says Coe.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says residents over the age of 65, pregnant women and cancer patients are also at high risk of complications if they contract the flu.