Flu can be Fatal: Pledge to get a Flu Shot this Season

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It’s that time of year again….flu vaccination time.  The Wilton Volunteer Ambulance Corps (WVAC) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) urge everyone 6 months and older to get vaccinated.

According to the CDC, yearly flu vaccination should begin in September, or as soon as vaccine is available, and continue throughout the flu season which can last as late as May. This is because the timing and duration of flu seasons vary. While flu season can begin early as October, most of the time seasonal flu activity peaks in January, February or later.

The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat, and lungs. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. The best way to prevent the flu is by getting a flu vaccineeach year.

“Even if you don’t think that the Flu Vaccine will do much or anything for you, do it for your family, your friends, your work colleagues, your neighbors, because it means that you will be less likely–actually, unlikely–to pass the Influenza virus on to others and make them sick.  So, think of it as a gift to them, if not to yourself,” says Michael Carius, MD, Chairman of the Department of Emergency Medicine at Norwalk Hospital.

People who have the flu often feel some or all of these signs and symptoms:

  • Fever or feeling feverish/chills
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue (very tired)
  • Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults.

Flu is unpredictable and how severe it is can vary widely from one season to the next depending on many things.  Certain people are at greater risk for serious complications if they get the flu. This includes older people, young children, pregnant women and people with certain health conditions, such as asthma, diabetes, or heart disease and persons who live in facilities like nursing homes.

Over a period of 30 years, between 1976 and 2006, estimates of flu-associated deaths in the United States range from a low of about 3,000 to a high of about 49,000 people.

Complications of flu can include bacterial pneumonia, ear infections, sinus infections, dehydration, and worsening of chronic medical conditions, such as congestive heart failure, asthma, or diabetes.

“I have admitted countless individuals to the hospital due to complications from the flu, some of whom could have avoided it altogether if they had gotten vaccinated” says Brian McGovern, MD., an emergency department physician at Norwalk Hospital and a Wilton resident.

The single best way to prevent the flu is to get a flu vaccine each season. The following is a list of the flu vaccination clinics scheduled in our area this season:

Darien Senior Center
30 Edgerton Street, Darien
Tuesday September 24 & Tuesday, October 8
10:00 am – 11:30 am

Wilton Senior Center
180 School Road, Wilton
Tuesday October 1 & Tuesday November 5
10:00 am – 11:30 am

Norwalk Senior Center
11 Allen Road, Norwalk
Thursday September 26
10:00 am – 12 noon

Wilton Family
404 Danbury Road, Wilton
Saturday October 5
9:00am -10:30am

Wilton Library
137 Old Ridgefield Road, Wilton
Saturday November 9
10:00 am -11:30 am

For additional information, call the Visiting Nurse & Hospice of Fairfield County Flu Infoline at 203-834- 6341, extension 444

The Wilton Volunteer Ambulance Corps, Inc. is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) corporation. Information: wiltonambulance.org.