Friday, September 29, 2023

Is It The Flu Season

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Too Late For The Flu Vaccine

Flu outbreak at University of Michigan: What it could mean for the US flu season

Flu viruses usually cause the most illness during the colder months of the year. In the United States, flu season is from October to May. Most cases happen from late December to early March.

It’s best to get the flu vaccine early in flu season, ideally by the end of October. That way, the body has time to make antibodies that protect it from the flu.

What if you aren’t vaccinated by then? Getting the vaccine later is better than not getting it at all. It’s still flu season well into spring. Even then it’s not too late for you and your family to get the flu vaccine. Many health care providers give flu vaccines through May if the flu virus is still circulating.

Getting a missed flu vaccine late in the season is especially important for people who travel. That’s because the flu can be active around the globe from April to September.

Patients With Uncomplicated Seasonal Influenza:

Patients that are not from a high risk group should be managed with symptomatic treatment and are advised, if symptomatic, to stay home in order to minimize the risk of infecting others in the community. Treatment focuses on relievingsymptoms of influenza such as fever. Patients should monitor themselves to detect if their condition deteriorates and seek medical attention Patients that are known to be in a group at high risk for developing severe or complicated illness, should be treated with antivirals in addition to symptomatic treatment as soon as possible.

Patients with severe or progressive clinical illness associated with suspected or confirmed influenza virus infection should be treated withantiviral drug as soon as possible.

  • Neuraminidase inhibitors should be prescribed as soon as possible to maximize therapeutic benefits. Administration of the drug should also be considered in patients presenting laterin the course of illness.
  • Treatment is recommended for a minimum of 5 days, but can be extended until there is satisfactory clinical improvement.
  • Corticosteroids should not be used routinely, unless indicated for other reasons as it has been associated with prolonged viral clearance, immunosuppression leading to bacterial or fungal superinfection.
  • All currently circulating influenza viruses are resistant to adamantane antiviral drugs , and these are therefore not recommended for monotherapy.

Are Flu Vaccines Safe

Yes. Flu vaccines have been used for over 50 years and have been safely given to hundreds of millions of people, including pregnant people. Flu vaccines, like all vaccines used in the U.S., are carefully monitored for safety through the U.S. vaccine monitoring systems .

Find answers to more questions about vaccine safety.

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National Influenza Surveillance Scheme

This paper provides a comprehensive summary and analysis of the National Influenza Surveillance Scheme, including surveillance systems that function outside of the Scheme, in 2015. The Scheme is coordinated by the Australian Government Department of Health and supported by a number of surveillance systems that aim to be nationally representative and monitor important aspects of severity, incidence and virology. Influenza activity monitored through its systems is presented in reports available on this page. Several jurisdictionally based surveillance systems that operate outside of the Scheme are used to inform local influenza activity trends. This paper describes the strengths and limitations of these influenza surveillance systems in terms of the aspects of influenza activity that they inform and their contribution to the overall monitoring of influenza activity in Australia.

Can A Flu Vaccine Give Me The Flu


No. The way that flu vaccines are made, they cannot cause the flu. Flu shots are made from either flu viruses that have been inactivated OR with proteins from a flu virus. .

Nasal spray flu vaccine is made with weakened live flu viruses, and also cannot cause the flu. The weakened viruses are cold-adapted, which means they can only cause flu infection at the cooler temperatures found in your nose. These viruses cannot infect your lungs or other warmer areas of your body.

While some people may get mild side effects from a flu shot like a sore arm, a headache, muscle aches or a low fever, those side effects usually begin soon after the shot and only last 1 -2 days. These are actually signs that the vaccine is working and your body is building immunity.

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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.

What To Expect With Influenza

Symptoms of the flu can hit very quickly and may last several weeks. A bout of the flu typically follows this pattern:

  • Days 13: Sudden appearance of fever, headache, muscle pain and weakness, dry cough, sore throat and sometimes a stuffy nose.
  • Day 4: Fever and muscle aches decrease. Hoarse, dry or sore throat, cough and possible mild chest discomfort become more noticeable. You may feel tired or flat.
  • Day 8: Symptoms decrease. Cough and tiredness may last one to two weeks or more.

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What About The Nasal Spray Flu Vaccine

The nasal spray vaccine, FluMist, is once again being recommended by the CDC for adults and children. In recent flu seasons, the CDC and the American Academy of Pediatrics had recommended flu shots only for kids because of questions about well the spray worked. But the manufacturer appears to have improved the spray, so the CDC and AAP say parents can go either way — shots or spray.

Understanding The Flu Vaccine

Why Experts Warn This Flu Season Will Be Severe

Get the facts about the flu vaccine and how it can help keep your family healthy each year

The flu season seemed milder during the COVID-19 pandemic, as fewer people got infected or were hospitalized with the flu. Experts are studying why that might be. It could be tied to public health measures that protect against coronavirus, as they also protect against the flu. These include wearing masks in public, social distancing, and lack of travel. Increased flu vaccination rates also might have helped.

COVID-19 is getting lots of attention now, but many people get very sick or even die from the flu every year. So it’s still important to get a flu vaccine each year.

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Vaccine Protection Is Vital As We Age

Annual flu vaccination remains the best way to protect yourself and your loved ones from the flu and its potentially serious complications.

However, as we age, our immune system weakens and starts to show a reduced immune response to standard-dose flu vaccines. Therefore, effective vaccination is paramount to reducing influenza infections, hospitalisations, and associated complications.

The good news is Australians aged over 60 can now choose from a range of vaccines after consultation with a healthcare professional.

Dr Chu points out that recent progress in vaccine research has given us a broader choice of vaccine options.

While the Australian Government covers the cost of a flu vaccine for over-65s and others deemed to be at greatest risk, annual vaccination is recommended for all Australians. If you are under 65 years, check your private health insurance policy for coverage of flu vaccine costs.

With the flu season just around the corner, Dr Chu recommends that, now is the best time to speak to your GP about how you can best protect yourself against the flu before winter sets in.

Talk to your doctor about influenza protection and vaccine options. For more information, visit

Seasonal Flu And Covid

Flu and COVID-19 are both contagious respiratory illnesses, but they are caused by different viruses. COVID-19 is caused by infection with a coronavirus and seasonal flu is caused by infection with one of many influenza viruses that spread annually among people.

Because some symptoms of flu and COVID-19 are similar, people may need to be tested to tell what virus is causing their illness. People can be infected with both a flu virus and the virus that causes COVID-19 at the same time. In general, COVID-19 seems to spread more easily than flu and causes more serious illnesses in some people. Compared with people who have flu infections, people who have COVID-19 can take longer to show symptoms and be contagious for longer. This FAQ page compares COVID-19 and flu, given the best available information to date.

Yes. It is possible to have flu and other respiratory illnesses like COVID-19 at the same time. This is called a coinfection.

During the 2020-2021 flu season, because of historically low flu activity, flu and SARS-CoV-2 coinfections were relatively rare. As flu viruses circulate in greater numbers along with SARS-CoV-2 in the 2021-2022 winter season, we would expect to see more coinfections. CDC is using surveillance data to help determine how common it is in the 2021-2022 winter season for people to be infected with flu and SARS-CoV-2 at the same time. CDC will provide updates as more information becomes available.

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Difference Between Influenza And Covid

and the flu can be similar.

If you are unwell with flu-like symptoms, contact the COVID-19 hotline on or your GP to check if you require COVID-19 testing.

The symptoms to watch out for are:

  • loss or changein sense of smell or taste

Some people may also experience headache, muscle soreness, stuffy nose, nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea.

Where Can Someone Get The Flu Vaccine

Flu Season at its peak in Wisconsin, 50 cases in La Crosse

To find out the best time and place as well as check for flu vaccine availability, contact your health care provider, your local public health office, nursing station, doctor’s office, pharmacy or ACCESS Centre, or go to the COVID-19 & Influenza Vaccine Shot Finder where you can seach locations that offer the flu vaccine in your area.

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What Do I Do If I Or My Child Have The Flu

Some symptoms can be very serious and require urgent medical care and treatment. Call 911 or go directly to an emergency room, nursing station or health centre if you or a loved one is experiencing any severe symptoms, such as:

  • shortness of breath or difficulty breathing that persists or worsens
  • severe weakness
  • dehydration, unable to keep any food or liquid down, or 12 hours of no or minimal urination
  • drowsiness or confusion
  • fever in an infant under three months of age or
  • neck stiffness.

People who have cold or flu-like symptoms should seek medical attention as soon as possible if they experience any of the following:

  • difficult or painful breathing
  • coughing up bloody sputum
  • wheezing
  • fever for three to four days that is not getting better or is getting worse
  • sudden return of high fever or other symptoms after initial improvement
  • extreme ear pain or discharge from the ear or
  • feel severely ill.

When Can I Get A Flu Vaccine

The flu vaccine is usually available in early September at doctors offices and drugstores. Dr. Perkins advises her patients to get the vaccine as soon as becomes available, although its never really too late. You definitely want to get it before the peak of the season, but you can get it as late January or February, she says. Just remember that your immune system has to have time to learn how to mount a responsethat could be a few days or more than a week to be most effective.

According to Dr. Bhuyan, usually about 45 percent of adults get the flu vaccine. If we can get that number above 80 percent , it would dramatically reduce the number of flu cases we see this season, she says.

Ultimately, it’s important to remember that even though COVID-19 measures may help you to be better protected, we cant forget that the flu can also be deadly and its always better to be safe than sorry. If there is one message about the flu I hope the public hears: everyone needs to get the flu vaccine this season, says Dr. Bhuyan.

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When Should I Get The Flu Shot

Pharmacies and doctors offices start receiving flu shots in Octoberthis is the best time to get it. We usually tell people to have it earlier rather than later because it does take 14 days to reach full efficacy, says Chager. Immunity tends to wane after five to six months, so we want to provide coverage for all the months youd be at risk of contracting the virus.

What Should You Do If You Get The Flu

What the flu season is like during a pandemic

If you develop flu-like symptoms, stay home and avoid contact with othersespecially high-risk populations . Most people will recover within a week or 10 days. Generally speaking, most individuals will get better on their ownrest, fluids and OTC medication to help reduce fever and aches, says Chager.

Dickinson sums it up: Take it easy, rest, eat nutritious foods, drink plenty of fluids and try not to give it to anyone else.

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Australian Influenza Surveillance Report And Activity Updates

The Australian Influenza Surveillance Report and Activity Updates are compiled from a number of data sources, which are used to monitor influenza activity and severity in the community. These data sources include laboratory-confirmed notifications to NNDSS influenza associated hospitalisations sentinel influenza-like illness reporting from general practitioners ILI-related community level surveys and sentinel laboratory testing results.

Page last updated: 08 July 2022


The Australian Influenza Surveillance Report is published on a fortnightly basis during the influenza season, typically between May and October. Influenza activity updates may be published outside of the seasonal period.

Who Is Most At Risk

Complications from the flu can include serious conditions, like pneumonia or heart attacks and, in some cases, death. Flu causes about 12,200 hospitalizations and 3,500 deaths in Canada each year.

Some people are more vulnerable to complications and hospitalization from the flu:

  • babies under 6 months old are too young to get the flu shot, but they’ll get some protection if their parent got the flu shot while they were pregnant
  • children under 5 years of age, because their immune systems are developing, and their airways are small and more easily blocked
  • people 65 years old and older, because their immune systems are weaker and they are more likely to have an underlying condition that increases their risk
  • pregnant people, because their immune system, heart and lungs change especially later in pregnancy making them more likely to get seriously ill from the flu
  • people with underlying health conditions, such as asthma, heart disease or diabetes

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Looking After Yourself When You Have Influenza

The best things you can do to look after yourself when you have the flu are:

  • Rest you will probably feel very weak and tired until your temperature returns to normal . Rest provides comfort and allows your body to use its energy to fight the infection.
  • Stay at home stay away from work, school and any places where you may have contact with others, especially while you are contagious. The period during which adults are contagious is usually around 35 days from when the first symptoms appear, and up to 7 days in younger children.
  • Drink plenty of fluids extra fluids are needed to replace those lost because of the fever . If your urine is dark, you need to drink more. Try to drink a glass of fluids, such as water, every hour while you are awake.

How Dangerous Is Flu

Flu Season Expected To Be One Of The Worst This Year

Severe influenza virus infections are associated with an overwhelming reaction by the immune system, resulting in what is called a cytokine storm. It is often an overreaction of the immune system rather than the virus itself that causes symptoms such as fever and sometimes fatal disease, including multi-organ failure.

In an average year around 800 people die from the flu in Victoria , but the 2022 flu season is shaping up as above average for flu-related deaths, and this years flu appears to be having a larger than normal impact on children

So far in 2022, people aged 1524 and children aged younger than 10 years have the highest influenza notification rates, and parents are being encouraged to have their children vaccinated.

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