October 2015

Protect Yourself This Season – get a flu shot

Many people have experienced the misery of the flu. Besides headaches, fever, fatigue, and body pains, the flu can lead to much worse complications, even death, especially in the elderly and infirm. However, even young, healthy people can become very sick, and of course pass it on to others.
According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,) the flu vaccine is the most effective way to prevent getting the seasonal flu and therefore reducing the chances of spreading it to others. It is recommended that people get the vaccine, either the shot or nasal spray, as early in the season as possible. Even though it usually peaks in January or even later, early fall is the best time to get the vaccine. It usually takes two weeks or so for the protection to kick in. Anyone over the age of 6 months, even pregnant women, can receive the vaccine.
Also, the flu vaccine cannot cause the flu. This is a widespread myth that many people still believe. This is because the short-term side effects of the injection can cause a low-grade fever, headache, and achiness, especially at the site of the shot. With the nasal spray, a headache, runny nose and other minor short-lived symptoms may occur. Very few people experience any serious side effects, such as an allergic reaction. However, all health issues should be discussed with a doctor or other health professional before receiving the vaccine.
Of course, even though you get a flu shot, it does not guarantee that you will not get the flu. It’s not possible to predict with 100% accuracy which strains will be around in any given year. However, if you do get the flu after being vaccinated, it should be milder and easier to deal with.
The Scotch Plains Rescue Squad is a volunteer organization of Neighbors Helping Neighbors. With more than 90 volunteers, we answer calls not only in Scotch Plains but in surrounding towns as well when needed. Besides answering calls, you will see our ambulances at many special events held in town, such as Scotch Plains Day, the Memorial Day Parade, high school football games, and the summer concerts on the Village Green.
The rescue squad is also available to provide demonstrations for Boys and Girls Scout troops, clubs, and any other group that may be interested. In addition, the squad lends out wheelchairs, crutches, canes and other assorted medical equipment free of charge. Email scotchplainsrescuesquad@gmail.com or call 908-322-2103 for non-emergencies.