By Kiran B. Koduri, MD
On behalf of the Campbell County Medical Group Pediatrics
The flu is a serious illness that caused 28 deaths in the state of Wyoming last year. Small children, the elderly and people with chronic health conditions are especially vulnerable. Severe cases of the flu can also lead to pneumonia or blood infections. Flu season typically starts in October and can linger until May.
The flu is caused by viruses that spread by coughing, sneezing and close contact. It causes fever, chills, muscle aches and headache. Some people may also experience cough or a runny nose. The flu is not “stomach flu” and is not associated with vomiting or diarrhea.
The best protection against getting the flu is to get a flu shot. Anyone over six months of age can be vaccinated against the flu. This year’s vaccine has been developed to protect against four different strains of the virus. It is thought that this year’s vaccine will be more effective than last year’s, when the flu strain changed and didn’t match up well with the vaccine.
Even if you get the flu this year, having had a vaccination helps shorten the duration and lessen the severity of the illness. And getting a flu shot will not cause you to get the flu. Flu vaccine is not a live virus. You may have a slight fever or soreness at the site of the injection, but this is just temporary as your body develops antibodies against the influenza viruses, which takes about two weeks.
The bottom line: protect the ones you love by getting a flu shot, and encourage everyone in your family to do the same.
To get a flu shot, see your healthcare provider,
Campbell County Public Health or visit your drugstore or pharmacy.
Learn more about the flu at www.cchwyo.org/flu411. To learn more about CCMG Pediatrics, please visit