What Precautions Should I Take Against The Omicron Variant
“At the rate that it seems to be spreading, there isn’t a surveillance system on the planet truly that could keep up with it,” Bronwyn MacInnis, director of pathogen genomic surveillance at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard University, said.
In some parts of the country, there are hints omicron already accounts for about 15% of cases, said Jeremy Luban, a virus expert at the UMass Chan Medical School.
Omicron has been moving faster even than the most pessimistic among us thought that it was going to move,” said Dr. Jacob Lemieux, an infectious disease expert at Massachusetts General Hospital. Theres a high likelihood that it will come to your holiday gathering.
Take the same steps that have been effective at preventing or reducing the risk of COVID infection: vaccination, masks in indoor public places or around vulnerable people, social distancing, boosters if you received your first shots more than six months ago. Pay attention to the COVID numbers in your area if there are a higher number of cases and a lower percentage of vaccinated people you may want to take more precautions.
The CDC has updated its guidance, recommending that all adults 18 and older should get a booster shot either six months after their initial Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine series or two months after their initial J& J vaccine.
Omicron precautions: CDC director says recommendations for protection the same, ‘regardless of the variant’
What Is The Flu
Influenza, or ‘the flu’, is a highly contagious respiratory illness. It’s a common cause of hospitalisation and leads to thousands more GP visits every year. Many people die annually from complications of the flu in Australia.
While you can catch the flu at any time, it’s more likely to happen in the colder months of the year . The flu season typically peaks in August, but laboratory-confirmed cases of influenza have been higher than usual so far this year as have calls about flu-related symptoms to the healthdirect helpline.
Early signs of the flu can include cough, sore throat, sinusitis or fever.
Currently there is a minimal level of flu-related calls to the healthdirect helpline. The flu vaccine and good hygiene are still the best ways of protection against the flu.
Whats The Difference Between Flu And Coronavirus
Both the flu virus and coronavirus are causes of contagious upper respiratory illnesses. The flu and COVID-19 have similar symptoms, which can include fever, cough, shortness of breath, muscle aches, runny or stuffy nose, sore throat, feeling tired, and headache. The severity of symptoms can vary, and those with the flu or a mild case of COVID-19 may be able to recuperate at home. One notable difference is that COVID-19 may also include loss of taste or smell, which is not a symptom associated with the flu. Testing may be necessary to determine which virus is causing illness. There is an antiviral treatment available for the flu, but not one widely available for COVID-19. The mortality rate for COVID-19 is also greater than that of the flu.
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Where To Get A Flu Vaccination
Flu vaccines are available at many locations, particularly in health-related institutions, such as doctors offices, clinics, health departments, and pharmacies.
Some schools will also facilitate a flu vaccination program to prevent a school-wide influenza outbreak. This broad level of availability means even children who do not have a regular doctor can get protection from influenza.
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 Is Flu Season Exactly
Although there are regional differences, cases of the flu begin to pick up around October, peak in December through February, and can last until May, says Natasha Bhuyan, MD, an infectious disease specialist and family physician in Phoenix, Arizona.
There are several reasons that the flu tends to be worse in the fall and winter, she says. For one thing, “The influenza virus tends to prefer cooler, dry weather, as its viral capsule can survive better in these conditions,” she explains. What’s more, people also spend lots of time indoors during flu season, “making the virus more easily spread from person to person.”
Caring For Yourself And Others
If you are unwell, stay at home and rest ideally/preferably in a separate, well ventilated room away from other people.
It is important to drink small amounts of fluids often.
Antibiotics only work against bacterial infections, not the viral infections that cause influenza.
Carefully read and follow the labels on any medication and contact your doctor or pharmacist if you have any questions
You can also:
- reduce fever by using a damp cloth on your forehead, washing the arms and body with a cool cloth, bathing in slightly warm water
- take appropriate medicines to relieve discomfort and fever if necessary.
- It is especially important to reduce fever if you are pregnant.
- gargle a glass of warm water and/or suck sugarless hard sweets or lozenges to help with sore throats
- shower or bathe regularly and keep bedding and nightwear clean and dry
- use skin balm or moisturiser to stop your lips from cracking.
Know the danger signs that mean you should seek urgent medical attention .
Any child younger than 3 months who has a fever should see a doctor
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About Author: Lisa Coon
Lisa Coon is a Writing Coordinator for OSF HealthCare, where she has worked since August 2016. A Peoria native, she is a graduate of Bradley University with a degree in journalism. Previously, she worked as a reporter and editor at several newspapers in Iowa and Illinois.She lives in Groveland with her husband and son. In her free time she likes to cook, bake and read. She freely admits that reality TV is a weakness, and she lives by the quote, The beach is good for the soul.
What You Need To Know About The 20192020 Flu Season
The death of a 4-year-old in California underscores the seriousness of the illness and the importance of vaccination, health officials say.
Summer may not officially be over yet, but the effects of the 20192020 flu season are already being felt.
Seasonal flu activity typically occurs between October and May, but the U.S. Outpatient Influenza-like Illness Surveillance Network is reporting that 1.2 percent of patient visits in the first week of September were due to influenza-like illness, or ILI. ILI is defined as having a fever of 100 degrees F or higher and a cough or sore throat.
On September 10, 2019, health authorities in California announced the first flu-related death of the flu season a 4-year-old child from Riverside County. The child reportedly had underlying health issues.
We should never forget that the flu still kills, said Cameron Kaiser, MD, Riverside County’s public health officer, in a press release. I always recommend people get their flu shots every year, but a death so early in the flu season suggests this year may be worse than usual.
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Is Flu Season A Different Time Of The Year In Other Parts Of The World
Although the flu virus can be spread at any time, cases spike when temperature and humidity drop. Thats why flu seasons around the world are associated with the colder temperatures.
While in Canada and most of Europe, temperatures generally fall at about the same time as in the United States, this isnt the case everywhere. For example, in countries in the southern hemisphere, such as Australia, Thailand, and South Africa, flu season generally runs from April to October.
Just like in the United States, the exact dates of flu seasons around the world change each year.
Can I Get A Flu Jab
The flu vaccine is given free by the NHS to people who:
- Are 65 and over
- Have certain health conditions
- Ae pregnant
- Are in a long-stay residential care
- Receive a carers allowance, or are the main carer for an older or disabled person who may be at risk if you get sick
- Live with someone whos at high risk from coronavirus
- Frontline health or social care workers
Anyone else can pay for a flu jab at most pharmacies.
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When Is Flu Season
Technically speaking, you can get the flu year-roundit’s when flu cases start to pick up that it’s technically considered flu season. The CDC typically sets these standards by monitoring key flu activities . When those numbers remain elevated for a few consecutive weeks, it’s considered flu season.
“Most of the time, influenza infections begin to increase in October and November and can last until May,”Alan Taege, MD, an infectious disease specialist at Cleveland Clinic tells Health. Later on, flu activity tends to peak even moreusually between December and January, and lasting until Marchbut “it’s impossible to predict exactly when flu activity will pick up and taper off,” says Dr. Taege.
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Eligibility For The No
These no out-of-pocket cost fluvaccines are available for students, faculty, and staff from:
- Morningside Campus
- Union Theological Seminary
BarnardandCUIMCaffiliates should contact their respective campuses for flu vaccine opportunities.
For those over 65 years of age, Columbia Health has a limited supply of the high-dose vaccine. Please speak to the nurse administering your vaccine if you may be eligible for the high-dose flu vaccine.
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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.
How Do You Pronounce Omicron
Take your pick. There isn’t a single, agreed-upon English pronunciation of the 15th letter of the Greek alphabet.
Omicron can be pronounced both AH-muh-kraan or OH-muh-kraan, according to Merriam-Webster. The New Oxford English Dictionary offers o-MIKE-ron. Some British English speakers have gone with OH-my-kraan.
Omicron, the newest coronavirus variant: How to pronounce it, how it got its Greek name, and what it means
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Your Best Shot At Protection
The CDC advises that everyone age 6 months and older get a flu vaccine every season. The vaccine now administered through an injection or nasal spray is widely available in physician offices, clinics, some workplaces, and pharmacies all over the country.
The vaccine can reduce related sicknesses, doctor’s visits, and missed work and school due to flu, as well as prevent flu-related hospitalizations and death.
A 2017 CDC study showed that vaccination can significantly lower a childs risk of dying from the illness.
The CDC also endorses the vaccine as safe and effective for pregnant women. Some of the protection gained by the mother crosses the placenta and gets passed on to the newborn during the first six months of the babys life, before he or she is eligible for vaccination.
Its not a perfect vaccine, but it still does a lot of good, says Schaffner. Even if you get flu after having had the vaccine, youre likely to have a less severe infection. Youre less likely to get complications of pneumonia and go to the hospital. Thats been shown year in and year out.
Taege adds that vaccination helps suppress the dreaded spread of the disease.
By getting vaccinated, you are not only protecting yourself, but youre protecting those around you by lessening the amount of flu in the community, he says.
A Look At Past Flu Seasons
The strain of influenza that circulates can change from year to year, and the vaccine is adjusted in an attempt to predict which will predominate. Here is a look at the flu over a period of 10 years.
2018-2019 Flu Season:
- Most common strain:Influenza Aboth H3N2 and H1N1
2017-2018 Flu Season:
- Most common strain:Influenza A
2016-2017 Flu Season:
- Most common strain:Influenza A
2015-2016 Flu Season:
- Most common strain:2009 H1N1 influenza A
2014-2015 Flu Season:
- Most common strain:Influenza A
2013-2014 Flu Season:
- Most common strain:2009 H1N1 influenza A
2012-2013 Flu Season:
- Most common strain:Influenza A
2011-2012 Flu Season:
- Most common strain:Influenza A
2010-2011 Flu Season:
- Most common strain: Influenza A
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What Is Seasonal Influenza
Seasonal influenza, also known as flu, is caused by influenza viruses. It affects the respiratory system mainly nose and throat. The effect of the seasonal influenza can vary from mild to severe symptoms.
Is it a cold or flu?
Sometimes it can be difficult to tell the difference between a bad cold and flu. Both are respiratory illnesses, but are caused by different types of viruses. The symptoms are almost the same, but are more severe in flu. Most common symptoms in flu are high fever, body pains, extreme tiredness and dry cough. Whereas symptoms in common cold are headache, and runny or stuffy nose.
How dangerous is flu?
Most people affected with flu recover within few days to 2 weeks of being infected. Others may develop serious health problems such as infections in the lungs, ear, sinus and worsening of chronic health problems. Flu can be life-threatening for some younger children, pregnant women, older adults and people with chronic health problems or weak immunity are more likely to develop flu complications.
How does flu spread?
Flu is a very contagious disease. A person may be infected with the flu by inhaling droplets from an infected person when coughing, sneezing, or talking. The flu virus can also be caught from touching a surface or an object contaminated with the virus, and then touching mouth, nose or eyes.
How to prevent flu?
How do flu vaccines work?
Who should be vaccinated?
Everyone starting from the age of 6 months.
- All healthcare workers
- oKidney disease
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 the 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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What Are Flu Symptoms
The NHS states that flu symptoms can come on very quickly and include:
- A sudden fever a temperature of 38C or above
- An aching body
- Diarrhoea or tummy pain
- Feeling sick and being sick
If you or someone you know start to exhibit symptoms, but youre worried it might be Covid, its important to understand the differences between the symptoms.
The biggest difference between the flu and Covid is that the flu would generally impact the whole body.
Dr Ravi Tomar, a GP at the Portland Medical Practice in Croydon, said: With the flu you would expect the body as a whole to mainly be affected. With Covid, the persistent fever, dry cough and specific features like the loss in taste or smell can suggest this may be the cause.
Most Common Virus Type This Winter
Until now we have mainly seen influenza A viruses circulating in the Region. In most cases these will cause mild illness, but in older adults they are known to sometimes lead to severe disease and death. Fewer influenza Apdm09 or influenza B viruses have been detected to date, although the distribution of viruses usually changes over the course of the winter, so we might see this situation change.
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