Tea and Oranges – Peggy Sue McRae photo
Island Senior is a regular column written by Peggy Sue McRae…
I was not planning to write about the flu this week but the flu chose me and according to my informal social media commiserations I am not alone. This is turning out to be one of the worst flu seasons in years.
I was surprised to get the flu because I just got a flu shot. A few days later I had symptoms. The timing made me suspicious and I wondered, did the flu shot give me the flu? In a word, no, the flu shot does not give you the flu. It can take a few weeks for a flu shot to kick in. I was most likely exposed to the flu before I got my shot. While the flu shot contains influenza strains, those strains have been inactivated, which means they are no longer infectious.*
At first I thought I had come down with a common cold due to a runny nose being my initial symptom. What convinced me it was the flu was the lack of appetite and achy muscles. The distinction can be important. People who have chronic medical conditions like diabetes or heart disease, compromised immune systems, the very young and the elderly, are at greater risk of developing severe symptoms from the flu and should seek medical attention if they have any trouble breathing or have a persistent fever.**
If you do get sick, stay home. Even if your symptoms are not severe you could be exposing those who are more vulnerable. I was lucky enough to have work I could do at home and friends willing to pick up groceries, check my mail for me, and bring me firewood. For some of us who love our independence a brief illness can bring home just how much we need our friends and community.
Previous to succumbing to the flu I’d had thoughts of joining the Mullis Center’s Friday Field Trip with Callie McKay. Definitely next month! I hear there is a trip to Burlington and LaConner in the works. I have a feeling any adventure with Callie is going to be fun.
*Link to article on PBS Newshour website: It’s really not too late to get your flu shot, and other flu myths debunked.
**Link to article on PBS Newshour website: Defending against this season’s deadly flu: 5 things to know.