Friday, September 29, 2023

What Is Considered The Flu Season

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Can You Still Get The Flu Out Of Season Though

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In a word, yesthe flu can technically circulate all year long, meaning you can get the flu anytime, says Dr. Bhuyan. Its just less like to be transmitted to large numbers of people during the off-season. Additionally, when its summer in the Northern Hemisphere, its winter in the Southern Hemisphere so if you travel to a place like Australia during their winter, you can definitely pick up the flu.

Cases of the flu begin to pick up around October, peak in December through February, and can last until May.

However, the virus isnt as strong during the warmer seasons, and people arent as susceptible, so its generally pretty rare, adds LaTasha Perkins, MD, a family physician in Washington D.C.

What If I’m Vaccinated Can I Still Get Covid

Yes. The three approved COVID vaccines are amazingly effective, but they’re not 100%. A very small number of fully-vaccinated people will still get sick.

Those vaccinated can still become breakthrough cases. They may not feel sick. Still, they could carry similar viral loads to unvaccinated carriers in their nose and throat, according to the CDC. Although delta isnt necessarily any more lethal than other variant, it can kill huge numbers of people simply because it infects so many more, said Dr. Eric Topol, founder and director of the Scripps Research Translational Institute.

Also, if you are vaccinated, you may be protected against the virus but you can still spread it to others who may not be vaccinated or may be immunocompromised.

What To Know About Californias Flu Season

Influenza all but disappeared last winter, but thats unlikely this year amid loosened pandemic restrictions.

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As is the case with so many things, the pandemic flipped on its head something we once took for granted: the rampant spread of the flu.

Each year between October and May, generally considered flu season in America, millions of people catch influenza and tens of thousands die from it. The flu has consistently been one of the top 10 annual leading causes of death in the U.S. until 2020.

Last years flu season caused about 1 percent of the hospitalizations and infections of an average season, according to some estimates. In California, 50 people died of the flu last winter, a huge drop from 706 deaths during the 2019-20 season.

We can think of this as a pandemic silver living: A combination of social distancing, masking and school closures that were in place to limit the spread of the coronavirus most likely also kept the flu at bay.

Thats good news, but it leaves a question mark around whats going to happen this year. Coronavirus restrictions have been loosened, but were by no means back to a prepandemic normal.

So, you might be wondering, how bad is the flu season going to get?

So far, flu case numbers nationwide and in California have been low, but are trending upward.

For more:

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What Are The Symptoms For The Flu

More or less the same thing, except for the loss of taste or smell.

COVID-19 symptoms usually appear two to 14 days after exposure to the coronavirus. Influenza symptoms start to show up about one to four days after exposure to an influenza virus.

But COVID-19 can cause more serious illnesses in some people than the flu, as well as complications such as blood clots, lasting respiratory problems.

Do you have symptoms of the flu or COVID-19? Here is how you can tell the difference.

What Are The Symptoms For A Cold

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Like COVID, the symptoms of a cold are often coughing, sneezing, a runny or stuffy nose, a sore throat, tiredness and sometimes a fever. Symptoms usually appear one to three days after exposure to a cold-causing virus.

Unlike COVID, a cold is usually harmless and cold-sufferers generally recover in three to 10 days.

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What Should I Do If I Feel Ill

With any respiratory virus, youll usually be able to manage your symptoms by yourself at home. That goes for both flu and COVID-19. Get lots of rest, make sure youre drinking enough fluids, and take paracetamol or ibuprofen to manage your symptoms.

It is ok to take ibuprofen to manage COVID-19 symptoms. Early on, some news reports said that ibuprofen could make COVID symptoms worse, but the Commission on Human Medicines confirmed that there is no clear evidence to suggest this. Paracetamol is generally a better choice for most people though, as ibuprofen itself can cause side-effects.

It may also be worthwhile doing a test for COVID-19 if youre feeling unwell. The UK government currently only advises you to self-isolate and get a PCR test for certain symptoms. These include having a high temperature, new, continuous cough or a loss or change to your sense of taste or smell. But the Delta variant of COVID-19, which is currently the most dominant in the UK, is known to cause many other symptoms too. These include headache, runny nose, sneezing and a sore throat.

Always seek medical help if your symptoms get worse, or if youre not improving after a week.

What Can I Do To Protect Myself From Flu

With rates expected to be higher than normal, its more important than ever this year to get a flu vaccine if youre eligible. The flu vaccination programme has been expanded this year to offer more people protection. The following groups of people are eligible for a free flu vaccine.

  • Children aged two to 15 years.
  • People aged 50 years or over.
  • Anyone in a clinical risk group. This includes people with severe asthma, COPD, heart disease, kidney disease and diabetes, and those with a weakened immune system.
  • People who are pregnant.

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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.

What Precautions Should I Take Against The Omicron Variant

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“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’

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Things To Know This Flu Season

The flu is serious, contagious, and potentially fatal, especially for those with underlying health conditions such as asthma, diabetes and heart disease. Did you know, last year close to 2,000 New Yorkers died from influenza and pneumonia? The best way to protect yourself and your family from the dangers of the flu is by getting a flu shot every year. Everyone six months and older should get vaccinated for the flu every year.

Experts dont know when flu season will start, how severe it will be, or how long it will last, but they know its coming. Here are five things everyone needs to know this flu season:

What Is Seasonal Influenza

Seasonal influenza is a respiratory infection caused by a virus that can seem similar to the common cold or other viruses. However, the signs and symptoms of the flu are usually more severe than the common cold. A sudden high fever, body aches, extreme tiredness and dry cough are more common with the flu than the common cold. Other common symptoms of the flu include headache, chills, loss of appetite, sore throat and poor feeding if an infant. Nausea and upset stomach may sometimes occur, especially in young children. The flu can also lead to more serious problems like pneumonia and bacterial infections, sometimes resulting in hospitalization or death.

The seasonal flu should not be confused by what is commonly known as the stomach flu. Other circulating viruses that affects primarily the stomach with symptoms of vomiting and diarrhea cause the stomach flu.

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Reasons To Get A Flu Shot

The song were singing this year is that its more important than ever to be vaccinated against influenza, says Schaffner. Its not only for your own benefit so you wont spread the flu virus to others, but also to help us take some strain off the healthcare system, which is already stretched because of the coronavirus. Theres going to be lots of concern and confusion this year, so lets at least get vaccinated to minimize that.

The CDC says that on average, the vaccine reduces the risk of flu by 40 to 60 percent and to be clear, the flu inoculation does not protect against COVID-19 and other viruses.

The success of the flu vaccine varies every season. A CDC chart shows that the vaccine was 60 percent effective in 20102011 but only 19 percent effective in 20142015.


There are numerous strains of the influenza virus, and the ones that circulate vary from year to year. The CDC and the World Health Organization work with the Food and Drug Administration to predict which strains will dominate each season, and vaccines typically guard against those strains. When the predictions are accurate, the flu shot is more effective when the predictions are off, the flu shot is less effective.

Despite these uncertainties, there are important reasons to get a flu shot. Consider what it can do:

Who Should Get A Flu Vaccine

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The CDC recommends that everyone over the age of 6 months receive a flu vaccine. The health agency stresses that vaccination is particularly important for people who are at high risk of serious complications from influenza, including children under age 5, adults 65 and older, pregnant women, nursing home residents, and individual with certain medical conditions .

Were most concerned about those vulnerable people, but everyone over the age of 6 months should get it, stresses Schaffner.

Its also fast and easy to get a flu shot. Most are given in a single dose into the arm muscle via needle. Children who are 6 months to 8 years old getting vaccinated for the first time require two doses of vaccine spaced at least four weeks apart.

A nasal spray version may be available at some places that offer flu shots, although Dr. Glatter mentions that it was not as effective as the injection in 2019.

Not everyone will follow expert advice and get the vaccine this season. On average, heres how many people across the United States are vaccinated for the flu each year.

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What If I’ve Had Covid Before Am I Immune Now

While previous infection helps your body fight off reinfection, it is still possible to get COVID again. And it may be even easier with omicron.

People infected longer ago with earlier variants are at higher risk of reinfection with omicron, South African studies have shown, with people infected in their first wave early last year having a 73% chance of reinfection. Those infected in its most recent delta wave have a 40% risk of reinfection with omicron, the new study showed.

A preliminary briefing released by the United Kingdom Friday showed an approximately three- to eight-fold increased risk of reinfection with the omicron variant.

‘It was just a matter of time’: How scientists in San Francisco found the first case of the omicron COVID-19 variant in the US

Making The Push To Get Vaccinated

Were trying to get as many people who meet the criteria vaccinated to prevent community-acquired pneumonia, Dr. Jones said. Pneumonia can strike any time of the year, so this is a year-round effort on our part.

We believe its important to be vaccinated, he said. Its for the prevention of a very serious disease. If theres ever any questions, a person should contact their primary care provider and discuss what options are best for them.

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More Information About Vaccinations

The flu vaccine is widely available, but some people may be concerned about things such as when to receive a vaccination, why they actually need it, and whether getting vaccinated can have adverse effects. Learn more about the answers to these questions using the facts listed in this CDC guide to flu vaccinations.

More Ways To Protect Yourself From The Flu

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Taking steps to block the spread of viruses can help you stay healthy throughout flu season.

The things you may already be doing to lower your risk of getting sick with COVID-19 including social distancing, frequent hand washing, and mask wearing may lower your chances of getting the flu or another respiratory infection like the common cold.

In geographic areas with significant numbers of people wearing masks for COVID, it is believed that the intensity of the 20202021 flu season should be less severe, says Glatter.

While your best defense against the flu is to get your flu shot every year to help protect against the strains that are most likely to be circulating, you can also take the following steps to help stop viruses from spreading:

  • Avoid people who are sick and stay home when youre sick.
  • Cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze, preferably with a tissue that you then throw away.
  • Wash your hands regularly with soap and water, or use hand sanitizer.
  • Clean areas around you disinfect surfaces regularly to help remove germs.
  • Keep viruses out avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Focus on overall health eat nutritious meals, keep hydrated, stay physically active, manage stress, and get good sleep.

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Why Does Flu Spike During Colder Months

Of course, this is all relative , but, generally speaking, flu just likes the conditions of winter a little more. “The flu is a contagious respiratory illness, and the influenza virus lives longer in colder, drier air,” says Dr. Taege.

People are also much more likely to congregate indoors during the winter months and that closer contact can help the virus spread, says Dr. Taege. But close quarters during other parts of the year can heighten flu risk too, like when lots of people gather on cruise ships for vacations, Richard R. Clark, MD, FAAFP, family medicine physician at Northwestern Medicine Grayslake Outpatient Facility tells Health.

Factsheet About Seasonal Influenza

Seasonal influenza is a preventable infectious disease with mostly respiratory symptoms. It is caused by influenza virus and is easily transmitted, predominantly via the droplet and contact routes and by indirect spread from respiratory secretions on hands, tissues, etc. Additionally, aerosol transmission plays a part in influenza virus transmission.

Seasonal influenza causes 4 -50 million symptomatic cases in EU/EEA each year, and 15 000 70 000 European citizens die every year of causes associated with influenza. Despite the often short duration of illness, the yearly economic and healthcare burden of influenza is substantial.

In the northern hemisphere, including Europe, seasonal influenza generally occurs in epidemics between November and April each year, and in the southern hemisphere between June and October. Influenza surveillance is carried out worldwide, including in the EU.

A number of other viruses and bacteria cause similar symptoms so that much of influenza-like illness is not actually caused by influenza. At irregular intervals there are influenza pandemics.

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Does Flu Season Change From Year To Year

The flu season remains relatively constant from year to year. What often changes is which weeks between December and March will account for the most number of flu cases.

Its also difficult to know how the flu will affect different parts of the country. Some areas can have large outbreaks of cases during one week while other parts of the country have very few cases during the same week. Different reporting systems keep track of weekly flu outbreaks during each season. This information is used to predict when peak flu activity will occur in different parts of the country.

And while the timing of flu season remains constant, it is difficult to predict how severe a flu season will be. For example, the 2020-2021 flu season was 8 months long but the number of flu cases reported during those months was fewer than in prior years. There were also fewer hospitalizations and deaths because of flu during the 2020-2021 season. Its not clear why this happened, but COVID-related precautions along with record high flu vaccine rates likely played a role.

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