Body Armor Up: Not too late to get flu shot

The influenza virus causes an infection in the respiratory tract, or nose, throat and lungs. The virus is inhaled or transmitted — usually through the fingers — to the mucous membranes of the mouth, nose or eyes, according to the article written by Laura Haynes of the University of Connecticut.

Effects can vary from person to person. For instance, in older folks, diminished walking and leg strength can be prolonged.

However, children can be affected as well. Tragically, an Upper Peninsula child died from the flu earlier this month, according to a story in Crain’s Detroit Business.

In that story, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services stressed it’s not too late to get a flu shot, particularly for children and people age 65 and older. Also, the state’s chief medical executive, Eden Wells, M.D., was quoted as saying the flu vaccine is a person’s best defense against the flu and will help reduce the severity of symptoms even if people catch the flu despite being vaccinated.

The medical community also has noted that people with asthma are at particular risk as well. That makes sense; having difficulty breathing at a “normal” time can be exacerbated when the flu strikes and lungs are damaged.

So, asthmatics should consider getting a flu shot in addition to their monthly refills of Advair, Ventolin or other asthma-fighting pharmaceutical.

Where can you get a flu shot? The MDHHS said the vaccine is available from local health departments, vaccination clinics, doctors’ office, pharmacies, and some workplaces and schools.

They also can visit the Flu Vaccine Finder at www.flu.gov, run by the Centers for Disease Control.

The CDC said the best way to prevent the flu is by getting annual vaccinations, which cause antibodies to develop in the body about two weeks after vaccination. The antibodies provide protection against infection with the viruses in the vaccine.

Anyone who’s had the flu knows of that particular kind of misery, which can put people out of commission for days — or worse. So, if the flu can be avoided, all the better.

Getting a flu shot is a good start.

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