How To Avoid The Flu
Many of the preventive measures that’ve become familiar over the pandemic also protect against influenza including vaccination, hand hygiene, wearing masks and avoiding sick people, Dr. David Brett-Major, an epidemiologist at the University of Nebraska Medical Centers College of Public Health, advised.
Hensley had a similar take: Flu vaccines are clearly our best protection against influenza, he counseled. Even in years when there are antigenic mismatches, flu vaccines prevent serious disease and death.
The experts also stressed the importance of staying home when you’re feeling under the weather. One human behavior the pandemic seems to have permanently shifted is that its no longer seen as acceptable to power through at school or work when youre feeling sick, explained Tosh. People have finally learned they should stay home when they have symptoms, and that one behavior is really cutting down on the spread of disease.
Ways To Prepare For Cold And Flu Season
Taking Antivirals To Treat Influenza
Antiviral drugs are prescription medications that fight viral infections. While the flu vaccine is highly effective for preventing the spread of influenza, it is not a guaranteed way of preventing the disease. When a person catches the flu, antiviral drugs may help the individual avoid a trip to the hospital. This medicine can potentially reduce the severity of symptoms and cut the length of the sickness by up to two days. There are currently two approved antiviral drugs for children that can be used this flu season:
- Oseltamivir: Recommended by the CDC and American Academy of Pediatrics for treating influenza in children as young as two weeks old.
- Zanamivir: Suggested medicine for treating children as young as seven years old.
This CDC guide to antivirals contains more information about who can take antiviral drugs and what impact they may have on ones health.
During flu season, parents must keep track of their childrens health. If they can catch the signs of an influenza infection early, they can better comfort their children and take action to prevent them from spreading the flu to their peers and classmates. Furthermore, identifying a case of the flu early on has the added benefit of allowing parents to track a childs condition as the disease progresses.
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Will Flu Season Be Bad This Year
The 2020-2021 flu season was historically light. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that only 2,038 flu cases were reported between September 2020 and April 2021. In contrast, the CDC estimated the number of flu cases jumped to between 8 and 13 million between October 2021 and June 2022.
As for what to expect this year? Dr. Englund says flu season wont be as light as it was a few years ago.
The difference comes down to COVID-19-related changes in behavior. A few years ago, everyone was masking and practicing hand hygiene, says Dr. Englund. We were socially distancing and not going out, because of COVID. Influenza is spread the same way, so we were protecting ourselves from influenza as well.
With the introduction of the COVID-19 vaccines and the lifting of mask requirements, people started going out more. This shifted the following years flu season and the forthcoming one as well. People are getting out more in the world, says Dr. Englund. Theyre tired of being cooped up I certainly understand that. But by the same token, were putting ourselves more at risk not just for COVID, but also for influenza.
When Is Cold And Flu Season
Find out when cold and flu season begins, peaks, and ends.
Unless you live in a bubble, chances are you will be exposed to the cold and flu virus. While these contagious viruses can be found year-round in the United States, they are most common during the fall and winter. Cold and flu activity often begins to increase in October.1 You can monitor activity in your area with the Theraflu Cold and Flu Tracker.
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When Is Flu Season
In the U.S., flu season can start as early as October though, it sometimes doesnt rear its head until January or February.
To get an idea of how heavy or light our flu season will be, we can sometimes look to patterns in the Southern Hemisphere, says infectious disease specialist Kristin Englund, MD. Thats also why experts foresee a flu season with more cases this year.
We often use Australia as a way to predict what were going to have because theyre kind of a season ahead of us, Dr. Englund explains. This year, theyve seen a rise in the number of cases of influenza. And we are certainly going to see a significant rise in the number of cases of influenza this year as well.
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:
- Need a flu shot? Find an near you to get vaccinated.
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When Can You Start Taking Your Allergy Medications
As a general rule, allergy treatment should begin at least a couple of weeks before the start of allergy season, to help you stay ahead of the itching, sneezing, drippy nose, and wheezing. “The majority of hay fever medications work best if started before a pollen season begins,” Luz Fonacier, MD, head of allergy at NYU Langone HospitalLong Island and president of the ACAAI, told Health.
If you use nasal antihistamines, steroids, oral antihistamines, or eye drops for seasonal allergies, Dr. Fonacier advised against waiting until your symptoms are unbearable to start treatment. And don’t stop taking them too early, either. “The misery can linger until the end of the season, so wait a few weeks before stopping treatment,” Dr. Fonacier said.
All Flu Seasons Are Unpredictable
Despite the unique challenges of the 2021 to 2022 flu season, experts stress that every flu season is unique, and theres no cause for alarm just because a flu season is different from previous ones. We have a saying among doctors that if youve seen one influenza season, youve seen one influenza season, Tosh said. Flu seasons are predictably unpredictable.
Nelson echoed similar sentiments: In temperate climates, the influenza season typically begins in the late fall, peaks in February and wanes in April, but there is substantial variability from year to year.
One upside of the current flu season is that hospitals haven’t been inundated the way some feared they would, even though high case rates have lasted longer than usual. Before this season began, we were preparing for an overwhelming number of new cases, Tosh explained. Fortunately, our worst fears never happened. Though were seeing a prolonged number of cases, theres been a lower amplitude overall.
It’s not clear when exactly this flu season will end, but numbers are expected to decline in the coming weeks, Tosh and Nelson agreed.
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Common Influenza Complications For Children
When young children are infected with the flu, they usually experience the same symptoms as adultstypically fever, chills, muscle aches, nasal congestion, sore throats, and headaches. In addition to these symptoms, they are also prone to be afflicted by potentially severe health complications following the contraction of the flu:
A light fever in the range of 100-102 degrees F is a trademark symptom of influenza, but high fevers that exceed 104 degrees F may be more threatening to an individuals health. This is especially true for children and the elderly. To identify whether a fever associated with the flu may require investigation by a medical professional, evaluate the following potentially dangerous high fever symptoms:
- A temperature above 106.7 degrees F is extremely high and requires immediate medical attention.
- A constant fever, especially one that persists for 14 or more days, may be the sign of a more dangerous infection.
Pneumonia is an inflammation of the tissue inside of a persons lungs. In children, pneumonia commonly stems from the same virus like influenza. Therefore, pneumonia can be prevented by a collective effort to reduce the number of germs that are allowed to spread. This disease entails nearly the same symptoms as influenza but to a far more serious extent.
- Sore throat
- Nasal congestion
Middle Ear Infections
- Muffled hearing
- Fluid draining from the ear
How The Flu Vaccine Works
Development of the seasonal flu vaccine actually begins many months ahead of flu season. The viruses used in the vaccine are based on extensive research and surveillance into which strains will be most common during the upcoming season.
Seasonal flu vaccines protect against two types of influenza viruses: influenza A and influenza B. They can also be either trivalent or quadrivalent.
The trivalent vaccine protects against three flu viruses: two influenza A viruses and an influenza B virus.
The quadrivalent vaccine protects against the same three viruses as the trivalent vaccine, but it also includes an additional influenza B virus.
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Who Is Eligible For A Free Flu Jab This Year And How Can You Get One
The groups that are eligible for the flu vaccine this coming season are:
- all children aged 2 or 3 years on 31 August 2022
- all primary school aged children
- those aged 6 months to under 65 years in clinical risk groups
- pregnant women
- your midwifery service if you’re pregnant
- a hospital appointment
You can book an appointment yourself, and may also get an invitation – but you do not have to wait for this before booking an appointment.
In July, the Department of Health said the NHS will announce in due course when people aged 50 to 64 years old who are not in a clinical risk group will be able to get their free flu jab.
People in these groups are asked not to come forward until further information is announced.
The NHS says the best time to have the flu vaccine is in the autumn or early winter before flu starts spreading.
What Are Common Symptoms Of The Flu
They usually come more suddenly than cold symptoms. They include fever, feeling feverish, the chills, and having a cough, sore throat, runny nose, muscle or body aches, headache, and fatigue. Less common are vomiting and diarrhea. Children are more likely to have vomiting and diarrhea than adults are.
Not everyone with the flu has a fever.
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How Do Flu Vaccines Work
Flu vaccines cause antibodies to develop in the body about two weeks after vaccination. These antibodies provide protection against infection with circulating influenza viruses.
Seasonal flu vaccines are designed to protect against the influenza viruses that research indicates will be most common during the upcoming season. All flu vaccines in the United States are quadrivalent vaccines, which means they protect against four different flu viruses: an influenza A virus, an influenza A virus, and two influenza B viruses.
Can You Still Get The Flu Out Of Season Though
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.
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Flu Season Statistics Are Being Studied To Improve Population Health
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.
What’s New For Flu For 2021
It’s best to get your family vaccinated for flu by October, but flu vaccine is still available through winter. You may visit your local doctor’s office, pharmacy or clinic event in your area. See www.vaccinefinder.org or call the Help Me Grow Washington hotline at 1-800-322-2588 to find a flu vaccine location near you.
- In Washington, all children under age 19 get flu vaccines and other recommended vaccines at no cost.
- The provider may charge an administration fee to give the vaccine. You can ask them to waive this fee if you cannot afford it.
- Most insurance plans, including Medicare part B, cover the cost of flu vaccine for adults.
- Flu and COVID-19 vaccines can both be received in the same day, or even the same visit for convenience.
- Talk to your local health department for information about other no-cost flu vaccine options that may be available in your community.
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Flu Vaccines During The Covid
Did we need to get a flu vaccine earlier during the 2020-2021 flu season ?
There was no change in CDCs recommendation on timing of vaccination last flu season. Getting vaccinated in July or August is too early, especially for older people, because of the likelihood of reduced protection against flu later in the flu season. September and October are good times to get vaccinated. However, as long as flu viruses are circulating, vaccination should continue, even in January or later.
More information for vaccination timing for the 2020-2021 flu season
Were there changes in how and where flu vaccines were given in fall and winter or 2020-2021?
Prior to the 2020-2021 flu season, CDC worked with health care providers and state and local health departments to develop contingency plans on how to vaccinate people against flu without increasing their risk of exposure to respiratory disease, like the virus that causes COVID-19. This included releasing Interim Guidance for Immunization Services During the COVID-19 Pandemic. Preliminary coverage data from September 2020 suggest there were some changes in where people got vaccinated early in 2020-2021. For example, the proportion of people reporting getting a flu vaccination at a store was significantly higher than the equivalent proportion for the 201920 season , and the proportion reporting vaccination at a doctors office was significantly lower than 201920 .
This recommendation has since been .
Preventing A Child From Getting The Flu
The most effective way to prevent a child from getting the flu is by administering a flu vaccination.
- These vaccinations cause antibodies to develop within the patients body, protecting the individual against the influenza virus.
- While seasonal flu vaccination is not a 100 percent certain way to eliminate the flu, it has been shown to significantly improve the odds of a person avoiding a flu infection.
- But a flu vaccination is not the only option parents have to fight the flu.
Parents can also incorporate better eating habits and hygiene into their childrens routines to help them persevere through the flu season.
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