As flu season continues, health care providers remind the community that it’s not too late to get the flu shot.
“Vaccines remain the best way we know of to prevent disease,” said Patience Ankomah, MD, of Bayhealth Family Medicine, Dover.
While many people may think that it’s too late in the season to get the flu, or that it’s not a big deal to have it, Dr. Ankomah warns that the flu can cause serious illnesses.
“The flu can turn into pneumonia, bloodstream infections, or even central nervous system damage,” said Dr. Ankomah.
Children who attend school or daycare are at increased risk of catching the flu. Children often share toys, hug each other, or play very close to each other. All these factors can make them vulnerable to the disease.
In addition, Dr. Ankomah recommends the standard childhood vaccinations, such as measles, mumps, and rubella, and tetanus and pertussis, among others.
Outbreaks of measles in 2013 caused widespread concern. For many years, measles has not been a health concern in the U.S. However, travel and unvaccinated persons make it easier to spread this disease.
Dr. Ankomah wants to reassure patients who may worry that vaccines contain harmful ingredients or who may believe that vaccines can cause autism. She explained that vaccines have been researched by scientists around the world for many years.
“My patients’ welfare is my most important priority. I only recommend things that will help keep my patients healthy,” said Dr. Ankomah.
Vaccines are widely available—your primary care provider is a good place to start. Many pharmacies offer vaccines, including the flu shot, at reduced prices.
The CDC’s program “Vaccines for Children” helps health care providers obtain vaccines that they can offer free to their pediatric patients.
“We are still giving the flu shot,” said Dr. Ankomah. “It is important for our patients to understand why they should get the flu shot and other vaccines.”
If you need help finding a health care provider, please call 1-866-BAY-DOCS.