Every flu season is different, but it typically occurs from late fall to early spring. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends flu shots for almost everyone 6 months and older.
The flu, or influenza, is a contagious respiratory illness that causes fever, cough, sore throat, headache, muscle aches and fatigue. The flu can cause mild to severe illness, but an annual flu vaccine is a great prevention tool. It takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body and provide protection against influenza, so it is best to get the shot before the flu season starts.
Symptoms of the flu typically appear one to four days after infection and can come on abruptly. The flu is usually worse than the common cold with more intense symptoms.
Treating the Flu
Because the flu is caused by a virus, antibiotics will not help people recover. The right treatment for the flu is rest and drinking lots of fluids. Over-the-counter medications may provide relief for symptoms such as a sore throat or congestion. Antiviral medications, such as Tamiflu (oseltamivir phosphate), usually are needed only if the patient is at high risk for serious flu-related complications.
Covering coughs and washing hands are important tools to prevent the flu. So is getting vaccinated. Lake Regional makes vaccination easy with several opportunities to get a flu shot. Medicare and most insurance plans cover the cost.
At Lake Regional Primary Care Clinics
All seven Lake Regional primary care clinics — Camdenton, Eldon, Iberia, Lake Ozark, Laurie, Lebanon and Osage Beach — provide flu shots for established patients during regular office hours. Scheduled appointments are preferred.
According to the CDC, children 6 months to 8 years old who have not had a flu shot before need two doses given at least four weeks apart. In addition, kids in this group who received only one shot in previous flu seasons may also need two shots. They should get an early start so they can get the second dose by the end of October.
The COVID-19 vaccine is also available for anyone 5 and up at all Lake Regional primary care clinics.
At Lake Regional Pharmacy
Lake Regional Pharmacy offers flu shots at each of its five locations: Camdenton, Eldon, Lake Ozark, Laurie and Osage Beach. Children must be at least 7 years old to receive a pharmacy flu shot.
All Lake Regional Pharmacy locations also offer the shingles vaccination. No appointment is necessary for either vaccine.
At Lake Regional Occupational Medicine
Lake Regional Occupational Medicine offers flu vaccination services for area employers. Businesses can send employees to either the Osage Beach, Eldon or Lebanon clinic location. Flexible payment options are available, including invoice billing and clinic vouchers. For more information, contact Occupational Medicine clinic manager Rachel Bailey at 573.348.8045 or 417.991.3103.
Learn more about influenza, including treatment tips, at lakeregional.com/flu.