Preparing for the flu season

Posted: Updated:
By Andrew Michalscheck By Andrew Michalscheck

PHOENIX -- Summer isn't over yet, but that doesn't mean you can't start thinking about the flu season. The Food and Drug Administration just approved a new flu vaccine.

“About five to 20-percent of Americans will actually get influenza,” said Dr. Marjorie Bessel with Banner Arizona East. “200,000 get hospitalized and death rates range from 25 to 30,000 during most flu seasons in the U.S. alone.

Flu symptoms vary from fever, headache, fatigue and body aches.

“Most people will tell you that when you get the flu about a day before you even had symptoms and knew you were sick, you’re actually spreading virus to other people,” Bessel said. "So even staying home when you’re sick isn't enough to protect everybody from flu, that's why you have to get vaccinated.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends anyone over six months receive an annual flu vaccine.
    
“The flu vaccine is made up of three different strains to prevent you from what we believe will be the most likely common strains that will cause this illness,” Bessel continued.

She believes it's also important for healthcare workers to get vaccinated. This year all Banner Health employees will be required to get one.

“Healthcare workers vaccination for flu is the most effective way that we can protect patients we service,” Bessel said.
 
Besides the shot, Bessel said other ways to fight off the flu include washing your hands, eating right, exercising and getting plenty of sleep.

“They play a big part in making sure our personal immunity is as high as it can be,” Bessel said.

While some shy away from the flu vaccine, experts tell us over the years it's been getting safer and safer because it's more purified.