Saturday, September 30, 2023

Cold And Flu Season Months

Must read

Where To Get A Flu Vaccine

Yes, colds and flu are more common in winter. Here’s why

Flu vaccine is available now in the community, including at pharmacies, doctors offices, and grocery stores. Find a location near you using

The Health Department is offering flu shots for children and adults by appointment only.

The following fees will apply for a flu vaccine at the Health Department: Medicaid Insurance: $0 Uninsured: $25 adults & $21.24 children Private Insurance: $30. Most health insurance plans cover flu shots for free. The Health Department is out-of-network for private health insurance. If you have private health insurance, you are encouraged to get the flu vaccine at an in-network provider.

  • An annual flu vaccine is the best way to fight the flu.
  • Flu vaccine is safe and effective.
  • There is no live flu virus in the injectable vaccine and it cannot cause the flu.
  • The CDC recommend that everyone 6 months and older get vaccinated against the flu EVERY year, especially people who are at high risk.

Can You Catch The Flu Twice In One Season

Yes, this is possible although it is unlikely.

The reason for this is that the flu is not one virus, but rather a family of viruses which all affect the body in the same way. There are four main types of influenza virus A,B,C and D and each year, viruses from the A and B groups are responsible for causing flu outbreaks amongst humans. Within the A and B groups, multiple strains can end up circulating at the same time.

This means that its possible to catch one strain of the flu, become ill and recover, then catch a different strain later on during the same flu season. This is also the reason why a new flu vaccine is created each year, and can only offer protection for one season.

The Flu And You: What You Need To Know About The 2022 Flu Season

The past two years have seen record-low flu case numbers due to COVID-19 border closures, social distancing, and hygiene measures. But thats set to change.

Medical experts are now warning that while the flu took a back seat in 2020 and 2021, reduced socialising has meant we have had less exposure to flu viruses resulting in reduced herd immunity. This leaves us vulnerable to new strains of the flu virus and the potential for a devastating flu season in 2022.

Brisbane-based GP, Dr Sarah Chu is concerned this flu season will see the potential for a twindemic, where a severe flu season happens alongside COVID-19 infections.

I think we are in for a flu spike in 2022 and even the possibility of twin COVID-19 and influenza infections that will place further strain on the health care system, she says.

The ideal time for over-60s to start thinking about their seasonal flu vaccine is in April before winter begins.

Don’t Miss: Are Flu Shots Available At Rite Aid

Where Do I Get The Flu Vaccine

It’s offered at doctor offices, clinics, health departments, college health centers, pharmacies, and some schools, among other locations.

Many insurance plans pay for the annual vaccination, and older adults covered under Medicare Part B can get the vaccine free, with no copay or deductible.

To find a source for vaccines in your area, go to the Vaccine Finder .

When Does Flu Season Start

Know the Difference Between a Cold and the Flu

Flu season typically begins in October, says Jay Woody, M.D., FACEP, ABEM, chief medical officer of Intuitive Health and a co-founder of Legacy ER & Urgent Care. “But cases tend to increase as the months get colder, and peak in January and February in the Northern Hemisphere.” If you live in the Southern Hemisphere, you can expect to start seeing cases of the flu increase around April.

You May Like: What Is In A Flu Shot Vaccine

Cold Air Affects Our First Line Of Defense

Common cold and flu viruses try to gain entry into our bodies through our noses. However, our nasal lining has sophisticated defense mechanisms against these microbial intruders.

Our noses constantly secret mucus. Viruses become trapped in the sticky snot, which is perpetually moved by tiny hairs called cilia that line our nasal passages. We swallow the whole lot, and our stomach acids neutralize the microbes.

However, cold air cools the nasal passage and slows down mucus clearance.

Once a virus has penetrated this defense mechanism, the immune system takes control of fighting off the intruder. Phagocytes, which are specialized immune cells, engulf and digest viruses. However, researchers have also linked cold air to a decrease in this activity.

Rhinoviruses actually prefer colder temperatures, making it difficult not to succumb to the common cold once the thermometer plummets.

In one laboratory study, these viruses were more likely to commit cell suicide, or apoptosis, or to encounter enzymes that made short work of them when grown at body temperature.

During winter, levels of UV radiation are much lower than in summer. This has a direct effect on how much vitamin D our bodies can make.

There is evidence to suggest that vitamin D is involved in making an antimicrobial molecule that limits how well the influenza virus can replicate in laboratory studies.

A systematic review concluded that vitamin D provided protection against acute respiratory infection.

A person should

Tips For Parents On Helping Prevent The Spread Of The Flu

Once the flu season has begun, parents must teach their children how to prevent themselves from getting the flu. This is especially important for children who suffer from long-term medical conditions, such as asthma, diabetes, or neurological disorders. These and other conditions may complicate a flu infection, necessitating hospitalization.

The same precautions must be taken for children who are younger than the age of five, especially for children below the age of two. Flu infections have the potential to result in extreme discomfort and even death, so it is important that parents take action to help their children avoid getting sick this flu season.

Read Also: Quadrivalent Flu Vaccine Over 65

Common Questions About Influenza

Find answers to some of the most common questions about influenza. Learn how serious it can be. Find out how it spreads, how long after exposure symptoms take to appear and what symptoms to look for. Find out what you can do to prevent influenza, from vaccination, to staying home when ill, to handwashing.

Flu Season Statistics Are Being Studied To Improve Population Health

Boost your immune system during winter months

Creating a historical record of the peak months of flu activity for each annual flu season is only one aspect of flu season statistics that are being studied. The CDC also operates a flu activity surveillance initiative that is called FluView. FluView is a weekly report that compiles flu activity data from medical institutions across the nation and processes that data into practical knowledge.

Some of the basic data presented in the FluView report shows approximately when and where influenza infections have been occurring frequently. The researchers also try to detect which strain of the virus is most prominent and whether that virus may be undergoing any changes or mutations. With this data on hand, the CDC can more effectively provide support to the groups of people who face the greatest risk of contracting a severe case of influenza.

Influenza reaches epidemic levels in the United States every year during flu season. Thankfully, organizations such as the CDC have compiled a large volume of evidence-based knowledge to help people safely persist through flu season. With these resources and modern medicine available, there is no reason to worry as flu season approaches this year.

You May Like: Why Is Flu Season In The Winter

Use Proper Hygiene To Avoid Transmitting Influenza

The CDC advises that promoting proper hygiene is a fundamental way to stop the spread of germs that cause the flu. To this effect, parents should teach their children how to interact with their environment in a way that helps them avoid spreading or receiving the flu.

First, to avoid getting sick, children need to avoid close contact with people who already have the flu. Because the flu is spread by tiny droplets that are released from peoples mouths or noses, simply being near a flu carrier could allow an infection to take hold.

Conversely, people who know they have the flu should take extra precautions to minimize the impact of their infectiousness. Making the following simple changes to habits can also help prevent spreading the flu:

  • Eliminate germs by washing hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based solution when possible.
  • Limit contact with others as much as possible by staying home until symptoms subside.
  • Use a tissue or disposable cloth to cover the nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing.
  • Avoid touching hands to the eyes, nose, and mouth, as flu germs may be on the hands.
  • Clean and disinfect any surfaces that may have been contaminated with germs.

Whats Behind The Extended 2021

Theres been a perfect storm of conditions that have contributed to the unexpectedly long flu season, Tosh said.

In any given flu season, we expect about 10% of the population to become infected and develop some degree of natural immunity for the next flu season, he explained. But because of a near non-existent flu season the past two years , that natural immunity never happened, so more people have been susceptible to getting sick.

Another factor is vacillating approaches to masking and social distancing in response to COVID waves. For example, the omicron surge in January likely contributed to the late influenza season, according to Dr. Sandra Nelson, associate clinical director of the infectious diseases division at Massachusetts General Hospital, because influenza cases rose as expected in December but then dropped off suddenly when people began masking and distancing in response to omicron. Influenza cases then began to rise again in March, which correlated with the end of mask mandates and relaxing of other distancing measures, Nelson explained.

What’s more, this seasons flu vaccine is not a perfect match with the strain of influenza that has dominated this season, which can lead to more cases and more severe illness. And many people who were vaccinated got their shots in August or September last year, so they’re now more susceptible with the virus still spreading this close to the summer, Tosh said.

Read Also: How Long Have Flu Shots Been Around

When Does Flu Season Officially Start

There is no fixed date for the start of the flu season. Instead, flu season is characteristically marked by the winter months coming in and the weather cooling down.

  • Influenza may circulate lightly through populations throughout the entire year, causing a few infections, but winter weather triggers the flu to be exponentially more active.
  • Although the medical field has not yet identified exactly why flu viruses are more active in the winter, cold weather is universally believed to be a primary catalyst for the start of the flu season.
  • Once there is a significant spike in the number of influenza infections occurring throughout the population, the CDC officially declares that flu season has begun.

As this season progresses, the CDC constantly tracks, collects and analyzes data related to flu infections. This allows it to identify trends in when and where the flu virus is being spread. Based on these trends, the CDC can forecast when the virus is at its peak level of infectiousness and inform at-risk community members to take extra precautions.

Flu season typically falls sometime between the start of fall and the end of spring. For the past three decades, flu activity has peaked at some point between the months of October and February but always tapers off by April.

Who Gets Hit The Hardest By The Flu

What You Need to Know About the Upcoming Flu SeasonâIncluding When to ...

Children, older adults, pregnant women, anyone with a chronic medical condition, and health care workers are especially vulnerable to getting the flu or to having complications such as pneumonia, bronchitis, and sinus and ear infections.

Children younger than 2 are especially vulnerable. Those ages 6 months and under are also much more likely to get complications, but they’re too young to be vaccinated, so the best idea is to be sure everyone in contact with them is vaccinated.

Adults ages 65 years and above are at greater risk than younger, healthy adults due to weakened immune systems. Typically, these older adults account for most flu-related deaths and more than half of flu-related hospitalizations.

Pregnant women, as well as those who have delivered a baby in the previous 2 weeks, are more likely to have a severe illness than women who aren’t pregnant.

Anyone with a chronic medical condition is more likely to have complications. These conditions include:

  • Asthma

Children who have never been vaccinated against the flu will need two doses, spaced at least 4 weeks apart.

Don’t Miss: Chances Of Getting The Flu

What Are The Stages Of The Flu

Flu symptoms usually start within one to four days after infection. Unlike a common cold, the effects of an influenza virus infection can come on very suddenly.

The first signs of the flu are often a fever or chills, accompanied by headache, sore throat, dry cough, runny nose, muscle aches, and fatigue.

As the illness progresses, a person may have warm, flushed skin, watery or bloodshot eyes, a severe cough that produces phlegm, and nasal congestion. Nausea and vomiting may also occur, especially among children, according to the Merck Manual.

A bout of the flu typically lasts for several days or occasionally weeks, with severe symptoms subsiding in two to three days. However, weakness, fatigue, dry cough, and a reduced ability to exercise can linger for six to eight weeks.

Common Symptoms Of A Cold The Flu And Covid

The chart below shows common symptoms. Not everyone will have these symptoms. Your symptoms may be more or less severe, or you may only have a few. If you feel sick, stay home and call your doctor

Common Symptoms
  • Covering your mouth when you cough or sneeze
  • Staying home when you are sick
  • Avoiding close contact with people who are sick

You May Like: Flu Medicine Prescribed By Doctors

When Is Cold And Flu Season

While its possible to get the flu year-round, most people get sick in the fall and winter. Flu season generally peaks between December and February, and can sometimes stretch into May, says the CDC.

Most people get colds in the winter and spring, according to the CDC, but its possible to catch a cold in the summer or fall too.

RELATED: No Flu Shot and Now You Have the Flu: What to Do?

What Can We Expect From Flu Season 2021 In Canada

How to Stay Healthy as Flu Season Approaches

We wont know what flu season in Canada will look like until its herewe wont know much about everything from the strain to how much community transmission there will be. We can look to the southern hemisphere, now entering the spring season, for some clues as to what our flu season might look like, say both Chager and Dickinsonalthough this year, the southern hemisphere hasnt had much of a flu season .

Dickinson notes that the flu season in Canada is usually kicked off by someone travelling from the southern hemisphere. Just as the southern hemisphere is rounding out their flu season in September, someone flies into Calgary as it starts to get cool and starts the flu season here, Dickinson explains.

The hope is that if we follow social distancing guidelines and all the public health guidance thats been in place for COVID, we wouldnt see too much of a flu season, says Chager. But the reality is that people are heading back to the office and schools are reopening so were likely to see an increase of not just influenza but also COVID.

Don’t Miss: What To Do If Arm Hurts After Flu Shot

How To Protect Yourself

The single best way to prevent the flu is to get a flu vaccine every year.

A yearly flu vaccine is recommended for everyone 6 months and older without an increased risk for a serious adverse reaction. It is especially important that certain people get vaccinated either because they are at high riskof having serious flu-related complications or because they live with or care for people at high risk for developing flu-related complications.

You should receive a flu vaccine by the end of October, if possible. Vaccination should continue to be offered as long as flu viruses are circulating, even in January or later. While seasonal flu outbreaks can happen as early as October, during most seasons flu activity peaks in January or later. It is best to get vaccinated before flu viruses start to spread in your community since it takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body and provide protection against the flu.

For more information about seasonal flu vaccines, visit Key Facts About Seasonal Flu Vaccine.

How To Stay Protected This Flu Season

If youre concerned about catching the flu, the best thing you can do is get the flu vaccine. You should aim to get the vaccine between October and November, however you can get it at any point during flu season.

The flu vaccine can be administered very quickly and easily it is given as one injection in the upper arm and rarely causes side effects.

For people in high-risk groups, the flu vaccine is free on the NHS. People who dont qualify for a free flu jab can pay for the vaccine. At LloydsPharmacy we run a flu vaccine service every autumn. Visit your local store for more information.

Remember each year a new vaccine is created to offer protection against strains of the flu that will be prevalent in the upcoming flu season. To stay protected, you will need to get the vaccine every year.

You May Like: What Does Flu Shot Help With

More articles

Popular Articles