When will flu activity begin and when will it peak?
The timing of flu is very unpredictable and can vary from season to season. Flu activity most commonly peaks in the U.S. in January or February. However, seasonal flu activity can begin as early as October and continue to occur as late as May.
What should I do to prepare for this flu season?
Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends a yearly flu vaccine for everyone 6 months of age and older as the first and most important step in protecting against this serious disease. While there are many different flu viruses, the flu vaccine is designed to protect against the three main flu strains that research indicates will cause the most illness during the flu season. Getting the flu vaccine as soon as it becomes available each year is always a good idea, and the protection you get from vaccination will last throughout the flu season.
In addition, you can take everyday preventive steps like staying away from sick people and washing your hands to reduce the spread of germs. If you are sick with flu, stay home from work or school to prevent spreading influenza to others.
Where can I get a flu vaccine?
Brevard Family Walk-In Clinic offers flu shots. Flu vaccines are also offered at various locations including the health department.
How long does a flu vaccine protect me from getting the flu?
According to the CDC, Multiple studies conducted over different seasons and across vaccine types and influenza virus sub-types have shown that the body’s immunity to influenza viruses (acquired either through natural infection or vaccination) declines over time. The decline in antibodies is influenced by several factors, including the antigen used in the vaccine, age of the person being vaccinated, and the person’s general health (for example, certain chronic health conditions may have an impact on immunity). When most healthy people with regular immune systems are vaccinated, their bodies produce antibodies and they are protected throughout the flu season, even as antibody levels decline over time. People with weakened immune systems including the elderly, may not generate the same amount of antibodies after vaccination; further, their antibody levels may drop more quickly when compared to healthy people.
For everyone, getting vaccinated each year provides the best protection against influenza throughout flu season. It’s important to get a flu vaccine every year, even if you got vaccinated the season before and the viruses in the vaccine have not changed for the current season.
What sort of flu season is expected this year?
Flu seasons are unpredictable in a number of ways. Although epidemics of flu happen every year, the timing, severity, and length of the season varies from one year to another. It’s important to speak with your doctor about your health status and what you can do to increase your chances of wreathing the flu season in the healthiest way possible.
Symptoms of the flu include headache, fever, severe cough, runny nose or body aches. Contact your health care provider immediately if you have symptoms. The most effective measures we can take to fight this illness are getting vaccinated against the flu virus and practicing good hygiene.
The following are recommended measures to practice to help protect against the flu:
• Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
• Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs spread this way.
• Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
• If you or your children are sick with flu–like illness, stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone, except if you need medical care.
• Get re-vaccinated EVERY YEAR because flu viruses change. The vaccine is currently available and residents should be vaccinated as soon as possible.
Brevard Family Walk In Clinic is currently offering the Flu Vaccine, free with most ONLY $25.00 for those without insurance.
For more vaccination information or to learn more about the flu find us at www.BrevardFamilyWalkInClinic.com.