Fight the Flu this Fall

Carroll Hospital saw hundreds of cases of the flu last year, with the first confirmed case in September and the last in June.

The best way to prevent getting the flu is to receive a flu vaccine. But did you know that you should wait until after October 1 to get your vaccination?

The flu vaccine loses its effectiveness over time, and the flu can infect people well into the spring. If you were to receive your flu shot as soon as pharmacies receive their supplies in late summer, it may not protect you until the end of the flu season, especially if you are older than 65.

Things to know:

  • Get your flu shot every year, and wait until after October 1 to protect you for the entire flu season.
  • Everyone is at risk, especially children younger than 2, adults 65 and older, and those with serious health conditions.
  • Handwashing, along with getting the flu vaccine, is still the most effective way to prevent getting the flu in the first place.
    1. Soap and water are best, but alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol will work as well.
    2. Wash your hands often and sing Happy Birthday or Twinkle Twinkle Little Star to ensure you have washed your hands long enough.
    3. Use a paper towel to turn off faucets and to open bathroom doors.
  • If you do start experiencing flu symptoms, call your primary care provider or visit an urgent care center.
  • Don’t have a primary care provider? Call Care Connect at 410-871-7000 and ask for a health navigator, who can assist you in finding a primary care provider and making an appointment.

For resources, locations to receive the flu shot and more, visit Carroll Hospital’s seasonal flu page, The Partnership for a Healthier Carroll County’s website, or the Carroll County Health Department’s website.

Melissa Zahn, R.N., is the nurse navigation team leader at Carroll Hospital.

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