Preparing for Flu Season

Published on 24 September 2015

Over the past week, Clark Kebodeaux, Pharm.D., BCACP, assistant professor of pharmacy practice at St. Louis College of Pharmacy, has been sharing information about the upcoming 2015-16 flu season. On Monday, he looked ahead to this year’s flu season. Today’s focus is on how patients can prepare.

What do you recommend, Dr. Kebodeaux?

According to Kebodeaux, there are a number of steps you can take to reduce the chance you’ll have to miss school or work because of the flu.

“Getting the flu vaccine as early as possible, especially if you are pregnant or have chronic health conditions such as asthma, diabetes, or lung disease, can make a difference,” Kebodeaux says. “It takes about two weeks for your body to be fully prepared to fight off any flu viruses.”

The flu season traditionally starts in October and peaks towards the end of the year. However the flu season can start as early as September.

Your pharmacist or health care provider can help you determine the best type of flu vaccine for you, whether it is an injection or a nasal spray.

“There are a few more restrictions for the nasal spray,” Kebodeaux says. “Your provider will be well-versed to make sure you and your child receive the most effective vaccine available.”

Kebodeaux also recommends a reminder to everyone in the family to thoroughly wash their hands.

“After applying soap, I wash my hands really well for at least 20 seconds,” Kebodeaux says. “Be sure to scrub everywhere including the space between your fingers, and around your nails.”

This season’s flu vaccines are now available at most pharmacies. In most cases, patients may receive a flu vaccine with no appointment needed. In addition to the flu vaccine, pharmacists can provide a number of other immunizations. The rules vary by state, so check with your pharmacist.

Next week, Kebodeaux talks about some remedies and what to do if you get sick.

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