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Avoid the Flu

It is almost that time of year again…flu season. As the fall season approaches, many begin bracing for the dreadful effects of the flu, which can include a high fever, body aches, muscle pain, fatigue, nasal congestion, slight cough, sore throat and nausea.

According to the National Immunization Program, the flu, also known as influenza, is a disease of the lungs that can potentially cause pneumonia. Millions of people are affected by the flu every year. Approximately 114,000 people in the U.S. will be hospitalized this year because of the flu, while 20,000 people, usually those over the age of 65, will actually die from the flu.

If you are one of the millions of victims who are affected by the flu every year, consider taking some preventive steps.

According to Thomas Farrell, MD, Medical Director of St. Luke's Urgent Care Centers, the best way to combat flu symptoms is to treat them before they start. His solution: the flu shot.

"Flu shots have proven to be quite effective," said Dr. Farrell. "Every year, the Centers for Disease Control researches flu strains throughout the world and tailor the season's flu shots to combat the most prevalent strains."

Dr. Farrell further reassures skeptics that a yearly flu shot will not decrease one's immunity to the vaccination. Flu shots may not have the same effectiveness for everyone. Those who benefit most from these shots include individuals over age 40, those with a chronic medical condition such as heart and lung problems or diabetes, and/or those who work with the public-especially health care workers.

"While no vaccine is 100 percent effective, the flu shot still provides protection for those individuals who do contract the disease," said Dr. Farrell. "The flu shot can help to lessen the severity of the flu symptoms as well as the duration of the disease itself."

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, healthy children even as young as 6 months also can benefit from receiving the flu vaccination. Both adults and children in good health need flu shots to stay healthy during the flu season.

For more information about the flu and flu shots, please call St. Luke's Urgent Care Centers in Ballwin at 636-256-8644, in Ellisville at 636-458-9100, in Weldon Spring at 636-300-0370, in Fenton 636-343-5223 or in Wentzville at 636-332-5000.
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St. Luke's Hospital - 232 South Woods Mill Road - Chesterfield, MO 63017 Main Number: 314-434-1500 Emergency Dept: 314-205-6990 Patient Billing: 888-924-9200
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