Caughman Taylor, MD
Palmetto Health Children's Hospital
Influenza, more commonly known as the flu, is a serious infectious disease you can get from anyone infected. Healthy people can get the flu, and adults and children with other chronic diseases, such as diabetes or asthma, are even more at risk. Every year, flu season lasts from late fall to May.
The flu virus can leave you sick for five to seven days and can cause some very uncomfortable symptoms, including but not limited to:
- Body aches
- Persistent cough
- Sore throat
- Fever that can be high
According to Caughman Taylor, MD, senior medical director at Palmetto Health Children’s Hospital and chairman of the Pediatrics Department, complications from the flu can be more severe than only missing five to seven days of school or work. In fact, the flu causes up to 50,000 deaths annually in the United States.
Taylor emphasized the special risk for children suffering from the flu, especially children with diabetes, asthma, seizures, or any types of disease that increase the chance of hospitalization. “Up to eighty-five percent of children who die each year from the flu are children who did not get the flu vaccine,” said Taylor.
Many people doubt the effectiveness of the flu vaccine as they believe the flu shot is a cause of infection or causes the flu. Taylor emphasizes that the flu shot does not cause the flu. Also, while admitting the flu vaccine does not provide 100% protection, Taylor says it is an effective tool for preventing the flu. The vaccine’s main side effects are sometimes a sore arm, a slight headache, or a short fever over one or two days. However, “It is a good trade-off to avoid being sick for seven days, getting hospitalized or suffering from complications such as pneumonia,” he said.
The flu can cause more extreme illness to pregnant women than women who are not pregnant. Confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the flu vaccine only works for anyone six months and older, which makes the vaccine safe for pregnant women and babies older than six months. Pregnant mothers are encouraged to get a flu shot during their pregnancy to protect themselves and the lives of their unborn babies.
Palmetto Health is initiating a campaign to increase the number of people who are immunized with the flu vaccine. “We believe so strongly in the flu vaccine that we are offering free flu shots at churches around our community. The shots are free and no insurance is required,” said Taylor.
Taylor urges you to bring your family and get the flu vaccine at one of the locations throughout Richland, Lexington, and Sumter counties. Visit our website
for more information about the locations and times.
For more information, or to find a location near you, visit the Palmetto Health Children's Hospital website.