Guess what time of year it is?

As fall replaces summer, doctors everywhere are encouraging their patients to get vaccinated for the flu – and for good reason.

The flu or, influenza, is a virus. Many people often use the flu and “common cold” interchangeably, but this is far from true. While the common cold may make life unpleasant for a couple of days at most, its symptoms are not nearly as affecting and serious as those of the flu. The two also originate from different viruses. Flu symptoms are much more severe than the common cold, and most people find themselves confined to bed for several days. Symptoms include:

  • Fever (100-103F)
  • Cough
  • Congestion (nasal)
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Chills
  • Achy muscles (soreness)

And for children, on top of the previous symptoms, they can also experience abdominal pain and diarrhea.

In order to protect yourself and your family from the flu this year, PGOMG providers highly recommend that patients opt to receive the flu vaccine. We’re not alone in this recommendation – both The World Health Organization and the CDC agree that the flu vaccine is worthwhile, especially for high risk groups such as children, the elderly, individuals with chronic diseases (diabetes, asthma, heart disease) and pregnant women.

For pregnant women, the decision to receive the flu vaccine while with child may seem complex, but it really isn’t. It’s true that some of the vaccine may be transmitted to your unborn baby, but these trace amounts are not harmful and help protect the baby from illness once he or she is born. PGOMG recommends that pregnant women discuss their vaccine options with their healthcare provider. Here are a few facts that answer some of the most frequently asked questions pregnant women have about the flu vaccine:

  • Vaccines are safe for mom and baby
  • PGOMG uses a preservative-free vaccine that does not contain Thiomersal
  • The flu shot can be given at any time during a pregnancy
  • The flu shot does not give you the flu
  • Pregnant women should not receive the nasal spray vaccine
  • Mothers who are breastfeeding can receive the flu vaccine

Most people who don’t get the flu shot on a yearly basis chose not to because they think their chances of getting the flu are slim, but recent history has shown that this isn’t the case. The CDC estimates that approximately 35-50 million people in the U.S. come down with the flu each year, and about 100,000 of these individuals need to be hospitalized because of the severity of their symptoms. PGOMG advises patients and their families to be proactive about their healthcare and get the flu shot, which is now available at PGOMG! You can call PGOMG’s office at (415) 923-2123, or contact us online.

Patients should note that the only individuals who should not get the flu vaccine are those that have had a negative reaction to the vaccine in the past, if you are already ill, or if you have an allergy to chicken eggs.