The flu season is about to kick into full swing. As law enforcement officials, you spend a lot of time in the community, which means you’re likely to come into contact with the flu. Take a minute to think of all the people and surfaces you come into contact with in just one shift. If this isn’t enough reason for you to get a flu shot, here are others.
This Year’s Vaccine Is a Good Match
It’s difficult to predict the future of viruses from year to year, but the good news is that officials can normally tell what will circulate here in the Northern Hemisphere by looking at what has circulated during the winter in the Southern Hemisphere. So far, it looks like this year’s vaccine is going to be a good match. The flu virus hasn’t changed much since April when decisions were being made on what to include in the new vaccine, so it’s likely to be 70-80 percent effective.
There Are Vaccination Options
There are three vaccine delivery options to choose from that contain protection against three strains – two for influenza A and one for influenza B:
- The regular flu shot, of course.
- Intradermal, which uses shorter needles to administer vaccine just under the skin (Those who are wary of needles may be more at ease with this option.)
- The high-dose vaccine – which is available for those 65 and older – and has four times the concentration than the regular vaccine for a better immune response.
“Note that unlike years past, the nasal vaccine, FluMist, isn’t recommended for the 2016-2017 influenza season because of concerns about effectiveness. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends only injectable vaccines be used this season,” says Dr. Brenna Muniz, an Internal Medicine physician at Kelsey-Seybold’s Cypress Clinic.
Protect Yourself and the Public
Due to the nature of your work, exposure to a lot of people means more opportunity to contract communicable illnesses like the flu and spread it to others who may be at higher risk of serious complications – maybe even death. Getting a flu shot will help protect you from the flu and several days of missed work, as well as the public you’re working so hard to protect.
Protect Your Loved Ones
While getting your flu shot, don’t forget about those closest to you – your family! The CDC recommends a year flu vaccine for everyone 6 months and older by the end of October, when influenza activity often begins increasing. Make sure your family is protected from influenza germs you might bring home by getting their flu shots, too. If you have children 6 months through 8 years of age, they may require two doses of the vaccine for adequate protection. Children under 6 months are too young for a flu shot, which means protecting them from influenza by making sure everyone around them has been vaccinated is especially important.
“If you do get sick with the flu, stay home to prevent spreading it to others. Check with your doctor promptly, who may prescribe antiviral medication. Studies show that antiviral medication work best for treatment when they are started within two days of getting sick,” advises Dr. Muniz.
People at High Risk for Flu-Related Complications
Children under 5, but especially younger than 2
- Adults 65 and older
- Pregnant women
- Those with asthma
- Those with heart disease or neurological
- Anyone with diabetes
- Anyone with HIV/AIDS
- Cancer patients