It’s Time For Your Flu Shot

By Dr. Nikita Mathew, DO PGY1

“Every year, 10 to 40 million people are affected by the influenza virus, resulting in 140,000 to 960,000 hospitalizations annually.”

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

As Halloween decorations come up and pumpkin spice lattes are around every corner, the other hallmark of fall also emerges—the flu vaccine. Symptoms typically include:

  • fever
  • fatigue
  • sore throat
  • body aches

5 common questions about the flu vaccine

  1. Can I get the flu shot? Everyone over the age of 6 months is eligible for the flu vaccine. This includes special populations such as pregnant women, adults with chronic health conditions, and those over 65 years old. Exceptions to the flu vaccine are very limited, and include children less than 6 months old and those who had severe allergic reactions to the flu vaccine. You may have heard that those with egg allergies cannot get the flu shot, but the CDC recommends that these individuals still get the vaccine, but they may need to be monitored briefly afterward in a healthcare setting for allergic symptoms. There are also egg-free vaccines available.
  2. Why do I have to get the flu shot every year? The influenza virus changes year to year, so the flu vaccine you got last year likely will not protect you from the specific strain that is widespread this year. Researchers develop vaccines that will fight this year’s particular strain of the virus to maximize your protection. In addition, your immunity decreases over time so getting the vaccine annually helps build up your immunity again.
  3. When should I get the vaccine? The influenza virus is seasonal, typically starting in mid-October and peaking in winter. Your body will produce sufficient antibodies within two weeks after getting the vaccine. This is why the CDC recommends getting your flu shot sometime between September and late October. However, it’s never too late to get one, even past October. Flu shots will continue to be available well into winter and can protect you from the remainder of the flu season.
  4. Why do I feel like I have the flu after getting the shot? The flu vaccine contains an inactivated strain of the virus, meaning it cannot cause the flu but it does trigger your body’s immune response. This can result in body aches or a low-grade fever, but these symptoms are significantly less severe than those caused by the actual flu virus and resolve in 1-2 days, if present at all.
  5. How will the flu season be affected by COVID-19? Getting the flu shot is important every year, but especially this year in light of COVID-19. The pandemic has already stretched hospitals and healthcare resources pretty thin. Being vaccinated against the flu and reducing the risk of hospitalization is essential to help avoid an overlapping peak of influenza and coronavirus this winter. The flu shot will not make you more or less susceptible to COVID-19 since the viruses are completely separate.

Getting vaccinated not only helps protect you, but also helps protect your community and eases the burden on hospitals and the healthcare industry. Flu shots are currently available at NOAH clinics, so schedule an appointment today!

2019-2020 Influenza Vaccine Season – FAQ

By: Taylor Lukas, PA-C

Every year, the influenza virus causes unwanted, often severe, upper respiratory infections across the US during the months of October-May.

Influenza viruses A and B are the culprits for these infections, and if contracted, can cause

  • high fevers
  • severe coughing
  • fatigue
  • body aches
  • other upper respiratory symptoms

Consequences of this infection can range from physical discomfort and missed days from work for a young, healthy adult, to potentially severe and life-threatening complications for small children, chronically ill adults, pregnant women, and the elderly population. In the 2018-2019 season, the CDC estimated there were over 530,000 hospitalizations and over 37,000 deaths associated with influenza! Fortunately, we have an annual vaccine that targets the anticipated strains of the virus for that season and can help reduce our risk of infection! Below are a few commonly asked questions and concerns regarding the flu vaccine to help you make an informed decision.

Who should get the influenza vaccine, and when?

The flu vaccine is recommended by the CDC for all patients over 6 months of age (that do not have a contraindication to the vaccine). The vaccine is HIGHLY recommended for any adult with chronic medical conditions such as

  • asthma/COPD
  • diabetes
  • chronic kidney or liver disease
  • HIV
  • cancer
  • morbid obesity
  • elderly patients >65 years of age
  • pregnant women are strongly encouraged to get vaccinated due to risks associated with contracting the virus during pregnancy.

The ideal time to be vaccinated is before November, however it is beneficial to be vaccinated at any time during the flu season!

I am fairly healthy and don’t get sick often! Why do I need to get the influenza vaccine?

Even if the virus may not be more than an inconvenience to you, it could mean a life-threatening situation if you are to accidentally pass it along to an elderly or sick individual! You are helping protect others that may be unable to get the vaccine, as well as yourself, when you get vaccinated! Additionally, if you do catch the flu despite getting the vaccine, immunization is shown to reduce the SEVERITY and LENGTH of the illness, which allows you to get back to feeling better faster!

I always feel under the weather after I get the flu vaccine. Can I get sick from the flu vaccine?

The influenza vaccine typically administered contains an inactivated (dead) virus, so it is impossible to contract influenza from the vaccine itself. The most common side effect of a flu vaccine is arm soreness for 2-3 days after administration. Some patients report experiencing a mild headache, fatigue, or body aches after receiving the vaccine, however studies do not support a direct relationship between the vaccine itself and these symptoms. These mild potential side effects pale in comparison to the influenza symptoms that you will have protection from!

The start of the 2019-2020 influenza season is quickly approaching! Please come in and see us at any of our NOAH locations to receive a flu vaccine! Your medical provider can answer any additional questions or concerns at your office visit, and choose the flu vaccine that is appropriate for you! Here’s to a happy and healthy winter season!

The Measles – Are You Vaccinated?

By Chris Sweeney, RN – Quality Manager
“The measles is a serious and highly contagious disease that can spread quickly, so if you or your child are not vaccinated against the disease there is a risk of getting measles,” says Dr. Cara Christ, Director of the Arizona Department of Health Services.
Read more

Measles – Answers to All Your Questions!

By Dr. Amit Jain, Pediatrician

What is measles?
It is a once common childhood illness, now much rarer, thanks to the advent of the measles vaccine.
Read more

And the award goes to …

“I’m especially proud of the #teen #award as it’s our 4th year in a row for NOAH Heuser Family Medicine Center. Our staff are doing an amazing job in promoting & educating our patients about vaccinations. We’re doing our part to #immunize those that are able to receive #vaccines,” says Melody Dockery-Chleva, Practice Manager at NOAH Heuser Family Medicine Center. Are your child’s #vaccinations up to date? Schedule an annual well-child visit & find out! Don’t forget to bring your #shotrecords. To schedule an apt., please call 480-882-4545!

What to Know About HPV and Cervical Cancer


Nearly 13,000 women in the U.S. are diagnosed with #CervicalCancer each year. A preventable disease with vaccination and appropriate screening (Pap and HPV tests). We are highlighting the issues related to cervical cancer, human papillomavirus (#HPV) and the importance of early detection. Have you scheduled your well-woman visit lately? Has your child received their HPV vaccines yet? Call and schedule today 480-882-4545! #familypractice #pediatrics #CervicalHealthAwarenessMonth

2018 NOAH Desert Mission Back to School Health Checks

Last Saturday we hosted an awesome Back to School event at our Desert Mission Community Health Center providing FREE Back-to-school health checks! A special thanks to our friends at BHHS Legacy Foundation @MercyCare for their generous support of our programs and services.

2018 NOAH Palomino Back to School Health Checks

Last Saturday we hosted an awesome Back to School event at our Palomino Health Center providing FREE Back-to-school health checks! A special thanks to our friends @MercyCare for their generous support of our programs and services. Saturday, August 11, 2018 is our last FREE Back-to-School event from 9-3pm @ our Desert Mission Community Health Center. Learn more and schedule at KIDS.NOAHHELPS.ORG or call 480-882-4545! Arizona Alliance for Community Health Centers – AACHC National Association of Community Health Centers #NHCW18 #CHCSuperPower #ValueCHCs


August is National Immunization Awareness Month!

By Chris Sweeney, RN, NOAH Quality Manager
Vaccines are used to boost your immune system and prevent serious, life-threatening diseases.
Read more