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Q: Flu shots are available everywhere. Should I get one?

Posted October 16, 2013 in Advice Column, Grimes

A: This is the time of year to consider protecting yourself from influenza or “flu.” It is a viral infection that causes symptoms which can be very unpleasant. Common complaints include fever, cough, sore throat, nasal congestion, body aches, headaches and fatigue. Symptoms can also worsen with other chronic conditions possibly leading to hospitalization due to these complications.

The flu shot is a way to help reduce the possibility of getting influenza before we start seeing influenza strains in our area. Scientists at the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) and World Health Organization pick strains they believe through studies of worldwide occurrences that may become the offending viruses  Occasionally there will be strains that cause illness not covered by the flu shot, but these are impossible to predict.

People who should get the vaccine include everyone; however, some people would be considered higher risk including those older than 65, pregnancy, other chronic conditions (asthma, diabetes, chronic lung disease) or persons caring for others with chronic illness. If you have any questions regarding which preparation is right for you, feel free to contact your healthcare provider, or information is readily available at the CDC’s website,

Information provided by Dr. Seth R. Quam, D.O., UnityPoint Grimes, 101 S.E. Destination Drive, 986-4524.

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