Protecting Yourself and Our Community from the Flu

October 16, 2017

At Haywood Regional, our mission is Making Communities Healthier. That means we want to ensure that we do everything we can to prevent the spread of this serious illness and help you stay healthy for the busy months ahead. So, as you get settled into the new fall season this month, make flu prevention part of your routine.

Get Vaccinated
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends a yearly influenza vaccination for everyone six months of age and older as the first and best form of prevention against the flu. Studies show that, not only can the flu vaccine reduce your risk of illness by about 50 to 60 percent, but it can also make your illness milder, should you contract the flu, resulting in fewer doctor visits, less time missed from your daily routines and fewer flu-related hospitalizations. And by preventing the spread of the virus, you’re helping others in your community stay healthy, like older people, pregnant women, young children and those with health conditions who are especially vulnerable to serious complications from this illness.

Getting a flu shot is a minor interruption in your schedule, but one whose benefits far outweigh the temporary inconvenience. To get vaccinated, you can visit the Public Health Department, a walk-in clinic or pharmacy, or your primary care physician. If you don’t have a primary care physician, visit us at MyHaywoodRegional.com/FindADoc or call us at 800.424.DOCS (3627), and we’ll get you connected to the right care.

The Next Steps
While getting vaccinated is the first and most important line of defense against contracting and spreading of the flu virus, prevention doesn’t stop there. There are some additional measures you can take to help prevent the flu for you and others.

Wash your hands regularly with soap and water for 20 seconds, or use a hand sanitizer that is at least 60% alcohol-based.

  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Avoid sharing food, cups or eating utensils.
  • Disinfect your home and belongings, such as door knobs, light switches, children’s toys and play areas.
  • Stay home from school or work if you are sick to prevent the spread of germs.
  • Cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing with a tissue, your sleeve or elbow, and NOT your bare hands.
  • Get a flu shot.
  • Call your local hospital or your primary care doctor with any questions.

At Haywood Regional, we’ll be doing our part, too, to help prevent the flu from spreading, including:

  • Providing masks to all visitors and patients experiencing flu-like symptoms;
  • Setting up stations throughout the facility stocked with tissues and alcohol-based hand sanitizers;
  • Encouraging all patients, staff and visitors who have not done so already to get their flu shot;
  • Providing educational materials to all visitors about everyday preventative actions; and
  • If needed, limiting visitation hours to help limit the spread of infection.

Flu Treatment
Should you contract the flu, early detection is key. Prescription antiviral drugs can help reduce the time you’re sick if the virus is caught early enough. And early detection is especially important for those who are susceptible to serious complications. If you or a loved one begins to notice symptoms including coughing, sore throat, fever or upper respiratory symptoms, it’s important to see your doctor right away.

You should also limit contact with others as much as possible immediately after noticing symptoms. Stay home (or keep your child home) for at least 24 hours after the fever is gone, except to seek medical care or for other necessities.

For additional information about influenza, visit www.cdc.org/flu or contact the Public Health Department. 


The following practices are now offering flu vaccines:

Location Address Phone
Haywood Family Practice Canton 119 Park Street, Canton 828.235.3023
Haywood Medical Associates 16 Physician Drive, Waynesville 828.456.9836
Mountain Medical Associates 40 Brettwood Trace, Clyde  828.456.8633
Mountain Pediatric Group 24 Falcon Crest Lane, Clyde 828.452.8878
Waynesville Family Practice 1272 East Street, Waynesville 828.456.3511


Misconceptions about Flu Vaccines: 

Can a flu shot give you the flu?

No, a flu shot cannot cause flu illness. Flu vaccines given with a needle are currently made in two ways: the vaccine is made either with a) flu vaccine viruses that have been 'inactivated' and are therefore not infectious, or b) with no flu vaccine viruses at all (which is the case for recombinant influenza vaccine). The most common side effects from the influenza shot are soreness, redness, tenderness or swelling where the shot was given. Low-grade fever, headache and muscle aches also may occur.

In randomized, blinded studies, where some people get inactivated flu shots and others get salt-water shots, the only differences in symptoms was increased soreness in the arm and redness at the injection site among people who got the flu shot. There were no differences in terms of body aches, fever, cough, runny nose or sore throat.

Can I get the shot while pregnant? 

(Source: Centers of Disease Control & Prevention) Getting a flu shot is the first and most important step in protecting against flu. The flu shot given during pregnancy has been shown to protect both the mother and her baby for several months after birth from flu. Studies in young healthy adults show that getting a flu shot reduces the risk of illness by 40% to 60% during seasons when the flu vaccine is well-matched to circulating viruses. There also are studies that show that a baby whose mother was vaccinated during her pregnancy is protected from flu infection for several months after they are born, before the baby is old enough to be vaccinated. Pregnant women should get an inactivated influenza vaccine (flu shot); the nasal spray vaccine should not be given to women who are pregnant. LEARN MORE

Do I really need a flu vaccine every year?

Yes. CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine for just about everyone 6 months and older, even when the viruses the vaccine protects against have not changed from the previous season. 

Learn more misconceptions at https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/qa/misconceptions.htm