What You Need to Know About the Flu

Coming from a place of recent experience, you don’t want to catch the flu, this year or ever. In February, I got an unexpected 7 day vacation at Southern Hills Hospital thanks to the flu. I was admitted with sepsis and double pneumonia, both complications of the flu virus. It happened fast and it was awful, inexplicably awful. I went from moving furniture on Saturday to a fever of 105 on Monday with a sepsis diagnosis soon to follow.

I was admitted on Tuesday. I was afraid I may die and leave my children. I was that sick. In addition to treatment with anti-viral medications, I spent 7 days receiving IV antibiotics of four different varieties to help with the sepsis and bacterial pneumonia, IV steroids and of course oxygen and breathing treatments. It took months to fully recover.

I want you to know what you can do to protect your family. People really do die from the flu virus. Last year, just before I got sick, a friend from high school passed away because of he flu. She was 40 years old. She was healthy. She was a mom.

This year we are working with the Southern Nevada Health District to bring you information on the flu virus, the vaccines, and what you can do to help keep your family healthy.


Seasonal Flu Myths

Getting the flu shot can give you the flu.

The flu vaccine is made from inactivated virus and can’t transmit infection. The flu vaccine may cause headache, low-grade fever, and muscle aches in some people. While the mentioned symptoms are more commonly associated with the FluMist, none of the vaccines will cause the flu.

I got the flu shot and still got the flu. – The flu shot doesn’t work.

No vaccine is 100 percent effective. The influenza vaccine is designed to protect against the top 3 to 4 strains of the virus, but a person may get a different strain of the influenza virus that is not included in the vaccine.

Statistically, the benefits of getting a flu shot outweigh the risk. Getting vaccinated each year is the best protection from the flu and can reduce the risk of complications if you do contract the virus.

Flu shots are for the elderly, sick people, and children.

Influenza can impact anyone at any age. While there are groups of the population that are more at risk for complications from the flu, each year people of every age and category are adversely impacted by the flu.

It is important that everyone get vaccinated to decrease hospitalizations and to protect those around them.

The flu vaccine is not safe for pregnant women.

The flu vaccine is safe for pregnant women. Pregnant women are more at risk for complications from the influenza virus and getting vaccinated reduces their risk of hospitalization because of the flu by an average of 40 percent. Getting vaccinated can also protect their baby after birth from the flu.

Flu shots aren’t needed every year.

Flu viruses change and mutate each year. Each year the flu vaccines are designed to protect against the top 3 to 4 strains of influenza that are most likely to cause illness in the coming season. Currently, the antibodies from the influenza vaccine do not last more than one flu season.

It is better to wait and get the flu vaccine later in the flu season.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends you get vaccinated before flu begins spreading in your community. It takes about two weeks after you are vaccinated to for antibodies that protect you against the flu to fully develop. However, you can get vaccinated at any time, and vaccine is generally available throughout the flu season (August – May).

Antibiotics will help treat the flu.

The flu is a virus. Antibiotics fight against infections caused by bacteria. Antibiotics do not fight against infections caused by a virus.

Taking antibiotics when you don’t need them may do more harm than good. Contact your doctor if you are at high risk for complications from the flu and you begin experiencing flu symptoms. Antiviral drugs may be a treatment option for you.



For the 2018 flu season, the Southern Nevada Health District is offering the injectable quadrivalent (four-strain) flu vaccine as well as the high-dose vaccine for people age 65 and older at its public health centers. Cost of the flu vaccine is covered by most insurance with no copay. For more information, visit the Immunization Program’s Flu Vaccine Clinic page or call the clinic at (702) 759-0850.

The Southern Nevada Health District and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend routine, annual flu vaccine for people age 6 months and older without any contraindications.

Flu shots are especially recommended for people who are at a higher risk of flu complications including pregnant women; people over the age of 65; or anyone with a chronic medical condition like heart disease, diabetes, kidney disease, or respiratory conditions.

Because babies younger than 6 months old cannot receive a flu vaccine, people who care for them should also be vaccinated.

There are several different flu vaccines approved for use in the United States for the 2018-2019 season. Any licensed, recommended, and age-appropriate vaccine can be used, and this includes FluMist.

Anyone who has questions about which flu vaccine is appropriate should contact his or her health care provider. For additional information about flu shot recommendations, visit the CDC’s  Get Vaccinated page.

The Health District is offering flu shots at its clinics. Please arrive by 4 p.m. to allow time for processing:

Main Public Health Center, 280 S. Decatur Blvd., Las Vegas

Monday — Friday, 8 a.m. — 4:30 p.m.

East Las Vegas Public Health Center, 560 N. Nellis Blvd., Suite E12, Las Vegas

Monday — Friday, 8 a.m. — 4:30 p.m.

Southern Nevada Health District Henderson Clinic, 874 American Pacific Dr., Henderson

Monday — Thursday, 8 a.m. — 4:30 p.m., Friday 8 a.m. — 1 p.m.

Closed daily 1 p.m. — 2 p.m.

By appointment only. Call (702) 759-0960.

Mesquite Public Health Center, 830 Hafen Lane, Mesquite

Tuesday and Thursday, 8 a.m. — 4:30 p.m. Closed noon — 1 p.m.



This post was sponsored by the Southern Nevada Health District. Vegas Family Guide received compensation to publish this post. All opinions are that of the author.