Getting flu shot recommended
Physician assistant promotes measure to prevent illness
Steamboat Springs — Physician assistant Frani Jenkins said staying healthy is a daily job, but getting a flu shot can make that job a little easier.
Jenkins, who gets her flu shot every year, said she can count on her hands the number of times she has been sick over the past 25 years.
People who are recommended to get a flu shot include the elderly, people with respiratory ailments, people with chronic illnesses and people who work in health care.
Jenkins said people with chronic illnesses may have weaker immune systems and be more susceptible to catching the flu.
She said infectious specialists recommend everyone get a flu shot to cut down on the spreading of flu in schools and places of employment. Infectious specialists study the different strains of flu and determine what strains will be the most prevalent before designing a vaccine.
Jenkins said there is a chance the strains of flu that become prevalent during the “flu season” are not included in the vaccine.
She said people who get the flu shot do not have to worry about the flu.
The flu is spread through direct contact, Jenkins said. She said people touching objects such as door handles, plates or other items that have the virus on them are susceptible to getting sick.
Getting sick is as much of an economic issue as it is a health issue, Jenkins said. She said employers encourage their employees to get a flu shot to cut down on the number of sick days employees accrue.
Living in a resort community also creates additional health concerns for residents and visitors, Jenkins said.
“Our community is unique because we have so many people come here from all over the world,” she said.
She said in addition to the viruses that visitors may bring, the stress of getting ready for a vacation leaves many visitors sick during their stay in Steamboat Springs.
She said it is really distressing to see vacationers sick when they saved money to have time away from their jobs.
“Being healthy is a 365 day job. (You have to) eat proper, drink water, exercise and get the amount of sleep you need most of the time,” Jenkins said. She said when people come to see her when they’re sick, they don’t want to hear that they should have been more mindful of their health practices during the previous weeks.
“Stress suppresses your immune system,” she said, reflecting on the reason many people end up sick.
Steamboat Medical Group nurse supervisor Mary Dierdorff said Steamboat Medical is trying hard to make it easy for everyone to get a flu shot. She said flu shots for businesses can be arranged so people do not have to come to the medical clinic.
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