BHS official: It’s not too late to get flu shot

Published 3:08 pm Friday, February 1, 2013

By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

A Baptist Health System official is encouraging locals to get a flu vaccination if they haven’t already, and us urging residents to take steps to prevent influenza infection.

BHS Chief Medical Officer Dr. Elizabeth Ennis said it’s “not too late to get vaccinated this year,” and said physicians nationwide have predicted the flu season could last through mid-April.

“Nationally, we are looking at a particularly severe flu season, both in the number of cases and in the severity of complications,” Ennis said. “Early data shows that the influenza vaccine is just as effective this year as it has been in past year. This is a particularly virulent string of flu.”

Nationally, Ennis said severe complications and even deaths have been tied to the flu, especially among children and elderly adults. She said some are comparing this flu season to the “really bad” 2003-2004 flu season.

Ennis said it is not possible for a flu vaccine to cause the flu.

“It’s impossible to get influenza from the vaccine,” Ennis said. “That is a flu vaccine myth.”

Ennis encouraged those who develop flu symptoms to visit a physician within 48 hours of symptom onset. Catching and treating the disease early can help shorten the disease’s duration and cut down on the severity of the symptoms, she said.

Following risk-prevention measures, such as frequent hand-washing, covering sneezes and being mindful of hand contact with others, can help prevent the disease from spreading.