Medical Monday: Flu Prevention

PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - As December comes to a close, the flu season is beginning to reach its peak.

"Historically, we see the pattern of higher influenza circulating in the population in December. Our peak is almost always January, and then it is still circulating through the month of March," explained Jennifer Roberts, Infection Control Manager at Gulf Coast Regional Medical Center.

She says it's not too late to get your flu shot, but you should do it quickly. It takes two weeks to get the full immunity from the vaccine. The vaccine will not give you the flu, but it does reduce your chance of having serious complications or even death because the flu causes your body to have an inflammatory response that lasts for weeks, even after you feel better.

"With heart disease, you actually reduce your risk of having a stroke during flu season by 30-percent if you get the flu vaccine," according to Roberts.

She says those with diabetes have a six times higher risk of hospitalization from the flu.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends everyone 6 months and older get the flu vaccine every season.