Why Do People Need To Get The Flu Vaccine Every Year
Although only a few different influenza virus strains circulate at any given time, people may continue to become ill with the flu throughout their lives. The reason for this continuing susceptibility is that influenza viruses are continually mutating, through the mechanisms of antigenic shift and drift described above. Each year, researchers update the vaccine to include the most current influenza virus strains that are infecting people worldwide. The fact that influenza viral genes continually change is one of the reasons people must get the vaccine every year. Another reason is that antibody produced by the host in response to the vaccine declines over time, and antibody levels are often low one year after vaccination so even if the same vaccine is used, it can act as a booster shot to raise immunity.
Who Should Receive The Flu Vaccine And Who Has The Highest Risk Factors When Should Someone Get The Flu Shot
In the United States, the flu season usually occurs from about November until April. Officials have decided each new flu season will start each year on Oct. 4. Typically, activity is very low until December, and peak activity most often occurs between January and March. Ideally, the conventional flu vaccine should be administered between September and mid-November. Flu season typically occurs between October and May. It takes about 1-2 weeks after vaccination for antibodies against influenza to develop and provide protection. The CDC has published a summary list of their current recommendations of who should get the current vaccine.
Summary of CDC influenza vaccination recommendations for 2020-2021
Routine annual influenza vaccination is recommended for all persons aged 6 months who do not have contraindications.
A licensed vaccine appropriate for age and health status should be used. Consult package information for age indications.
Emphasis should be placed on vaccination of high-risk groups and their contacts/caregivers. When vaccine supply is limited, vaccination efforts should focus on delivering vaccination to :
For more information and details too extensive to include here , the following site is recommended: Prevention and Control of Seasonal Influenza with Vaccines: Recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices — United States, 2020-21.
When To See A Doctor
People should try to see a doctor within 24 to 48 hours after flu symptoms appear, as this is when antiviral treatments are most effective.
It is also important to see a doctor if symptoms do not improve after 7 days or new symptoms, such as ear pain, appear.
People should seek emergency medical treatment if:
- breathing becomes difficult or labored
- muscle pain is unbearable or severe enough to prevent walking
- a child develops a fever above 104°F
- when breathing, a child or infant makes loud sounds or pulls in the muscles around their ribs
- a person has seizures, loses consciousness, seems confused, or is unable to communicate effectively
- a baby under the age of 12 weeks develops a fever
- symptoms of chronic medical conditions get worse
- there is intense dizziness that does not go away after a few hours
- a person stops urinating or urinates very rarely
- symptoms get better but then return later and are worse
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What If A Cold Or The Flu Wont Go Away
When complications develop, a person will likely be sick for longer than a week or two, depending on the severity of the complication, how quickly a person receives treatment for it, and how well the patient responds to treatment.
Signs of severe complications that should prompt you to seek medical attention include the following, according to the CDC :
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When You Should See A Doctor
“People should see a doctor if they’re having symptoms out of the ordinary,” Holland says. “Cough or stuffy nose are normal. It’s not normal to have difficulty breathing.”
Emergency warning signs differ for children and adults, according to the CDC. No matter how long children have been sick, warning signs include:
- Fast breathing or difficulty breathing
- Bluish lips or skin tone
- Chest pain
- Severe muscle pain and difficulty walking
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Is It Flu Or A Cold
It can sometimes be difficult to tell if you have flu or just a cold, as the symptoms can be quite similar. The main differences are:
- usually include fever and aching muscles
- make you feel too unwell to continue your usual activities
- come on gradually
- mainly affect your nose and throat
- are fairly mild, so you can still get around and are usually well enough to go to work
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.
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How Long Does The Flu Last And When You’ll Start To Feel Better
- Early symptoms of the flu will come on abruptly and hang around for the first five days, or so, before you will start to feel better.
- The flu typically lasts one to two weeks. If symptoms are getting worse after the first week, you should consider consulting a doctor, especially if you have a pre-existing health condition like asthma or diabetes.
- This article was reviewed by Tania Elliott, MD, who specializes in infectious diseases related to allergies and immunology for internal medicine at NYU Langone Health.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Flu season in the US kicks off in October and lasts through May. While many healthy adults may be inconvenienced by the flu, everyone should know what to watch for and when to head to the doctor if symptoms persist or worsen.
What Are The First Signs Of The Flu
Find the first signs to recognize if you might have the flu.
The flu seems like it comes out of nowhere. One day, you’re living life as normal and then the next you’re down with a fever, body aches, nasal congestion and other unpleasant symptoms. However, there are some specific signs you can watch out for as early symptoms of the flu. The flu, or the influenza virus, can cause mild to severe illness and can even lead to hospitalization or even death.1 The flu is highly contagious and you may be able to spread it to other people before you know you’re sick as well as while you’re presenting symptoms.1 This is one of the reasons it’s important to recognize early signs and symptoms of the flu. The earlier you can recognize it, the earlier you can take action to avoid spreading it.
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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.
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.
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Seasonal Flu: Symptoms And Treatment
The seasonal flu can cause severe illness or complications. Certain groups of people have a higher risk of developing serious health conditions from the flu.
Flu is most common during the fall and winter months. Peak levels generally occur between late December and early March. There are many different strains of flu, and they tend to change each year.
You can avoid the seasonal flu by getting vaccinated every year.
When To Seek Immediate Care For The Flu
The flu can be a serious illnesseven a deadly one. Some symptoms of the flu in adults and children can be signs that the infection is serious enough to require immediate medical care.
If you or your child is sick with the flu and cannot breathe, has a high fever, cannot stop vomiting, or becomes confused, go to the emergency room.
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What Can People Eat When They Have The Flu
While a person has the flu, good nutrition can help the recovery process. Anyone with the flu needs to avoid dehydration, soothe sore throat and/or upset stomach, and have a good protein intake. Avoid dehydration by maintaining an adequate fluid intake. Sore throat and upset stomach may be relieved by broths or warm soups and plain crackers, toast, and ginger tea or noncarbonated ginger ale. Scrambled eggs, yogurt, and/or protein drinks are good protein sources. In addition, bananas, rice, and applesauce are food that are often recommended for those with an upset stomach. This list is not exhaustive but should provide a balanced approach to help speed recovery from the flu.
How Can I Help Prevent The Flu In My Child
The best way to prevent flu is to have the yearly flu vaccine. The flu vaccine is given as a shot . A nasal spray is not recommended for the 2017-2018 flu season. The CDC says this is because the nasal spray did not seem to protect against the flu over the last several flu seasons.
Each year, a new flu vaccine is available before the start of the flu season. Talk with your healthcare provider if you have questions about how vaccines work and how well they prevent flu. The first time a child between the ages of 6 months and 8 years gets a flu vaccine, he or she will need a second flu vaccine one month later.
The vaccine is advised for all children 6 months and older. But for some children, its more critical for them to get a flu shot. The flu shot should be given to any child who has any of these:
A long-term heart or lung condition
An endocrine disorder such as diabetes
A kidney or liver disorder
Weak immune system from HIV/AIDS or long-term steroids
A blood disorder such as sickle cell disease
A flu shot should also be given to:
A child who has a family member with a chronic health condition
A child or teen taking aspirin as long-term therapy
A child with parents or caregivers at high risk of complications from the flu
Some side effects of the vaccine can be like mild flu symptoms, but the vaccine does not cause the flu. Possible side effects of the flu vaccine include:
And you can help prevent your child spreading the flu to others if you:
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How Is The Flu Treated
Most kids with flu get better at home. Make sure your child:
- drinks lots of liquids to prevent dehydration
- gets plenty of sleep and takes it easy
- takes acetaminophen or ibuprofen to relieve fever and aches. Don’t give kids or teens aspirin because of its link to Reye syndrome.
- wears layers that are easy to remove. Kids might feel cold one minute and hot the next.
Children with the flu should stay home from school and childcare until they feel better. They should go back only when they haven’t had a fever for at least 24 hours without using a fever-reducing medicine. Some kids need to stay home longer. Ask the doctor what’s best for your child.
Doctors may prescribe antiviral medicine for a very ill child or kids are at risk for more serious symptoms. The medicine can shorten the flu by 12 days. It works best if children start taking it within 48 hours of the start of the flu. If a doctor prescribes antiviral medicine for your child, ask about any possible side effects. Doctors won’t prescribe antibiotics for the flu. Antibiotics work only against bacteria, not viruses.
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.
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What Are The Symptoms Of A Coldand In What Order Do They Show Up
It turns out, the common cold usually starts with a sore throat, the National Institutes of Health says. After that typically comes sneezing, rhinorrhea , nasal obstruction , and a general unwell feeling, per Merck Manual.
Generally speaking, adults don’t have fever with a cold, or they have a very low fever, MedlinePlus says. Children, however, may run a fever of up to 102 degrees Fahrenheit.
Because there are many different kinds of cold viruses, you may experience other symptoms of well, per MedlinePlus, like cough, decreased appetite, headache or muscle aches, or postnasal drip.
Tips On How To Manage Keto Flu
Certain remedies reduce the keto flu symptoms to help your body get through the process.
Water is important for the overall health of an individual.
The keto diet causes one to shed out more water which can cause dehydration.
Staying hydrated will reduce some symptoms such as fatigue and muscle cramps.
Besides, taking in more water will make you active.
- Take electrolyte supplements
During the keto diet, you cut off some of the richest electrolyte resources in the body such as starch.
When your body does not have enough electrolytes, you will experience dizziness, fatigue, and irritability.
You should look for electrolyte supplements that are keto friendly which means with no sugars.
When seeking out alternatives for electrolytes, ensure you talk to a medic to recommend the best supplements for your body.
The last thing you would want to happen to your body is to react with the supplements.
- Eat a lot of fat.
If you have cravings for sugars and carbs, you should eat more fats.
Eating more fat will fasten the process of burning fats to energy.
Besides, you can include some daily routine jobs that will help you keep fit and have the lean body that you desire.
- Increase the salt intake
Your body may start experiencing muscle cramps, lack of sleep and fatigue.
You can take chicken broth at least two cups a day to increase the salt levels in your body.
When you start your new journey of a keto diet, you should know the side effects that come with it.
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What Types Of Doctors Treat The Flu
Individuals with mild flu symptoms may not require the care of a physician unless they are a member of a high-risk group as described above. For many individuals, treatment is provided by their primary care physician or provider or pediatrician. Complicated or severe flu infections may require consultation with an emergency-medicine physician, critical care specialist, infectious-disease specialist, and/or a lung specialist .
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.
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Colds Dont Usually Come With A Significant Fever
While you may be running a little warmer, colds rarely come with a significant fever. And while you can still have the flu without a fever, the flu typically comes with a few days above 100° Fahrenheit.
A flu fever will likely come on fast. This is an especially common flu symptom in kids. Keep an eye on the little ones and the elderly, as they will be more susceptible to complications. Also, keep drinking liquids and get lots of rest.
Early Symptoms: Week 1
2 to 14 days after exposure to the virus, most commonly after 4 to 5 days. Most people will experience mild-to-moderate symptoms during this period.
The first COVID-19 symptom to develop is likely to be fever, which is a temporary increase in body temperature. This differs from influenza, where the first symptom is typically a cough.
Fever is the most common symptom of COVID-19, occurring in around
All data and statistics are based on publicly available data at the time of publication. Some information may be out of date. Visit our coronavirus hub for the most recent information on the COVID-19 pandemic.
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