Health Matters | The Flu and You

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The Flu and You

Fall has arrived and so have the great things that arrive with it: Fall festivals, changing leaves, cooler days, pumpkins, and flu season. The flu (seasonal influenza) is a contagious respiratory illness that can cause mild to severe illness and result in hospitalization or death in severe cases. As flu season begins, it is important to take steps to keep your family healthy. The best way to protect yourself and your family from the flu is by getting vaccinated.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), everyone who is at least six months of age should get a flu vaccine this season. The vaccine protects against influenza viruses that research indicates will be the most common during this flu season. The vaccine is not a guarantee that you will not become infected, especially if the strain of flu is not in the vaccine. However, it greatly reduces the risk.

Who is at higher risk of getting the flu if not vaccinated?
  • People who tend to develop serious complications if they get sick with the flu.
  • Others who live with or care for these people.
  • People who have certain medical conditions, including asthma, diabetes, and chronic lung disease
  • Pregnant women.
  • People younger than 5 years and older than 65 years.
  • Health care personnel.

The following people should not get a flu vaccine without first consulting a physician:
  • People who have a moderate-to-severe illness, with or without a fever. These individuals should not be vaccinated until they recover.
  • People who have had an allergic reaction to eggs.
  • People who have had an allergic reaction to the flu vaccine in the past.

When should you be vaccinated?
It is recommended that you get your flu vaccine as the vaccine becomes available in your area. Flu vaccines last throughout the flu season and can help to prevent illness during the peak months of flu, which are usually January and February. It generally takes about two weeks for the flu vaccine to take full effect. Early immunization is the most effective, but it is not too late to get the vaccine in December, January, or later.

Flu shots are available at Patient First through our Fast Track Flu Program. You can walk in without an appointment, and receive your flu shot with little or no wait time. If your insurance covers flu shots at Patient First, you pay only the copay (which is often $0) or $35, whichever is less. Self-pay flu shot cost is $35. Fast Track flu shots are available from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., every day, and are for patients who are not allergic to eggs, do not wish to see a physician, and are at least 4 years old. To find a center near you, please visit our locations page.

The key to fighting the flu lies in being proactive now. Do not wait until you or someone in your family starts feeling sick. Once you feel that first muscle ache and stuffy nose, it’s too late. Take charge of your health and enjoy the autumn and winter.

  • Get in the Game! The Benefits of Joining a Rec League
    Looking to meet some new people while indulging your competitive side? Rec leagues offer a great way to stay in shape while playing the game you love. Sports ranging from softball to water polo and everything in between are offered for adults at every level. Get a group of friends or coworkers together and join in on the fun!

    So how is joining a rec league good for you?

    An outlet for stress: Engaging in friendly competition while playing a game is a good way to relieve stress. Sweat away the day’s stress by getting active and participating on a rec league team. Regular practice can develop muscles and strengthen bones while lowering the risk of heart disease. Even twenty minutes of physical activity can be beneficial in reducing tension and anxiety.

    Gaining a new skill: If you are looking to pick up a new hobby, rec leagues could be for you. Even if you are a novice at a sport, there are teams for players of every level. Joining a rec league sport helps you refine your new craft through practice and game participation. Rec Leagues also allow you to work with teammates while developing skills such as hand-eye coordination.

    A social outlet: Rec league sport teams allow team members to stay connected with one another while bonding over a shared interest in sports. Not only are you building relationships with teammates and coaches, but you’re also meeting new people through the teams you challenge.

    A fun way to exercise: Rec leagues offer a fun and encouraging atmosphere in which to get and stay active. Getting sufficient exercise can boost your mood and also increase energy levels, and rec league sports offer a great way to fit exercise into your schedule. Even if it is just an hour a day, getting regular exercise is important to your health. Get in your recommended 2.5 hours a week while also having a good time playing with friends and teammates.

    Wondering which sport to take part in, or nervous about joining an established team? Check out these fitness facts and tips on popular rec league sports.

    Basketball: Basketball improves the ability to move quickly in different directions. Health benefits of basketball include cardiovascular conditioning and improvement of the body’s speed and power. Since you have to anticipate what other players will do and block out any distractions while shooting, basketball keeps players mentally sharp. What you’ll need to get started: high-top tennis shoes, athletic tape to prevent injuries, and a mouth guard.

    Rugby: Rugby builds power, strength, stamina, and cardiovascular training. Rugby players learn to defend themselves against tackling and acquire better balance and speed with practice. Good mental focus and strength are not the only thing a game of rugby requires—players have to work as a team and carry their own weight to pull out a win on the field. What you’ll need to get started: Soft-padded helmet to prevent head injury, athletic tennis shoes with good lateral support, and a mouth guard.

    Volleyball: Volleyball develops skills like agility, hand-eye coordination, quick thinking, and reflexes. Volleyball is also a good sport for aerobic conditioning. Mental focus to move, set, and spike the ball is required when playing on a team. Players should be able to work well with others on their teams. What you’ll need to get started: pads for knees and elbows, and shoes with good lateral support.

    Softball: Softball develops skills like hitting power, speed, and hand-eye coordination. Players need to have a strong mental focus and good coordination to interact with fast pitches and catches. Softball players develop muscle strength, core strength, flexibility, and batting and running skills. What you’ll need to get started: Cleats, a glove, a helmet, and a bat.

    Soccer: Soccer improves lower-body strength and power, while also offering aerobic and anaerobic conditioning. Players develop foot-eye coordination, quick reflexes, and agility to move quickly in different directions. Soccer requires developing skill and ability to play a position on the field and a high demand for strong mental focus. What you’ll need to get started: Mouth guard, cleats, and shin guards.

    Are you ready to sign up? Many rec leagues offer online sign-ups; however, here are a few other places you can check out opportunists to join a rec league team:

    Parks and recreation department: Check out the parks and recreation department in your area. They often have information on rec sports leagues and teams near you. Be sure to ask when and where sign-ups are held.

    Gyms and health clubs: Your local gym or health club may have information on rec league sports. Stop by and ask if they can recommend any organizations for you to get involved with. They may even sponsor or facilitate their own leagues for you to look into.

    Sporting goods stores: Many sporting stores make customized jerseys and uniforms for rec league players. Ask about local leagues and opportunities at a store near you.

    Websites: To find a listing of rec league sports near you, try doing some online research. Include the desired sport and the term “rec leagues” in your search. There are also websites such as that allow you to search for a certain sport and teams near you.

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