Family Medicine Physician & Sports Medicine located in Wilmington, NC
No one wants to get sidelined by the flu, especially older adults and children who can develop serious health complications. Dr. Richard Ferro offers urgent care services to treat flu symptoms and administer flu shots at Carolina Care in Wilmington, North Carolina. Protect yourself from the influenza virus with a flu shot from Carolina Care. Call the practice today or schedule an appointment online any time.
Flu Q & A
What is the flu?
Influenza, or the flu, is a virus that affects your lungs, nose, and throat. The flu virus is constantly changing and there are several strains. These infections spread through the air when an infected person talks, sneezes, or coughs, entering your body through your eyes, nose, or mouth.
When you have the flu, you’re typically more contagious in the days before your symptoms occur.
What are the symptoms of the flu?
The flu is often confused with the stomach flu, but influenza doesn’t cause vomiting and diarrhea. Common flu symptoms include:
- A headache
- Muscle aches
- Persistent, dry cough
- Weakness and fatigue
- Fever, chills, and sweats
- A sore throat and nasal congestion
To avoid contracting the flu, Dr. Ferro recommends getting an annual flu shot.
Is a flu shot necessary?
The influenza virus is highly contagious. Because the flu is always changing, the vaccine is designed to protect against the three or four flu strains expected to be the most common that season.
While most people recover from the flu on their own, hundreds of thousands are hospitalized each year due to influenza complications, including:
- Ear infections
- Sinus infections
In some cases, influenza can even cause death.
How does a flu shot work?
Vaccines protect your health by injecting small amounts of the infection into your body. As your immune system detects these foreign pathogens, antibody production is triggered to stop the disease from progressing.
Since the flu virus changes each year, scientists research which flu viruses might be the most prevalent each season. The traditional flu shot protects you against three viruses, including:
- Influenza A (H1N1)
- Influenza A (H1N2)
- Influenza B
Once you have a flu shot, it takes approximately two weeks for your immune system to produce the appropriate antibodies.
Who should get a flu shot?
Even the healthiest people can come down with the flu, but some individuals have higher risks of complications. While anyone over the age of 6 months should receive a flu shot, it’s especially crucial for people living in long-term care facilities or nursing homes, pregnant and postpartum women, children under 5 years old, and anyone over 65.
You should also schedule a flu shot if you have certain health conditions, such as:
- Heart disease
- Liver or kidney disorders
- A compromised immune system
- Metabolic, endocrine, or blood disorders
- Asthma, COPD, or chronic lung diseases
- Neurodevelopmental or neurological conditions
Call Carolina Care or schedule an appointment online for a flu shot today.