What Is The Flu Shot
The flu shot is an annual vaccination that can prevent influenza. This in-arm vaccination takes just a few minutes in the Valdosta Family Medicine Associates, P.C., office.
A flu shot protects you from the most prevalent strains of the virus, so its ingredients change every year.
Every year, the World Health Organization compiles a vast amount of information about current flu strains around the world. They then identify the specific strains most likely to cause illness in the next flu season and then include those strains in the new vaccine.
Influenza: What You Need To Know
Influenza, also called “flu”, is a viral illness that causes fever, sore throat, muscle aches and cough. Influenza can weaken the bodys defenses and lead to complications like bacterial pneumonia. It can also worsen existing chronic health problems like heart disease and diabetes.
The flu season can be as early as October and as late as May. During an average flu season, 36,000 Americans die and more than 200,000 are hospitalized because of complications from influenza. Some people, such as young children, the elderly, pregnant women and people with certain chronic health conditions are more likely to have complications related to influenza. While most deaths occur among the elderly and people with chronic health conditions, deaths can also occur among younger adults and children.
Use Proper Hygiene To Avoid Transmitting Influenza
The CDC advises that promoting proper hygiene is a fundamental way to stop the spread of germs that cause the flu. To this effect, parents should teach their children how to interact with their environment in a way that helps them avoid spreading or receiving the flu.
First, to avoid getting sick, children need to avoid close contact with people who already have the flu. Because the flu is spread by tiny droplets that are released from peoples mouths or noses, simply being near a flu carrier could allow an infection to take hold.
Conversely, people who know they have the flu should take extra precautions to minimize the impact of their infectiousness. Making the following simple changes to habits can also help prevent spreading the flu:
- Eliminate germs by washing hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based solution when possible.
- Limit contact with others as much as possible by staying home until symptoms subside.
- Use a tissue or disposable cloth to cover the nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing.
- Avoid touching hands to the eyes, nose, and mouth, as flu germs may be on the hands.
- Clean and disinfect any surfaces that may have been contaminated with germs.
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The flu may seem like a minor illness, and for many otherwise healthy adults it is. But certain groups of people have a higher risk for developing severe complications due to the flu. That includes people with some underlying health conditions as well as those over the age of 65, pregnant people and kids under the age of 2, the CDC said.
As with COVID-19, the best way to protect yourself and those around you from the flu is with vaccination. And the CDC recently announced that most people can safely get both a COVID-19 vaccine and flu vaccine at the same appointment.
Ideally, we should all be following CDC recommendations and common-sense health practices, Javaid explained. Of course, that means getting vaccinated. But it also means staying home when youâre feeling sick, continuing to wear masks in high-risk environments, washing your hands frequently and getting tested potentially for both flu and COVID-19 if you start to feel symptoms.
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What Do I Do If I Get The Flu
Get plenty of rest and drink plenty of caffeine-free liquids to avoid becoming dehydrated. Avoid using alcohol and tobacco. To reduce fever, take a non-aspirin pain reliever. There are two antiviral medications approved for treatment of the flu: oseltamivir and zanamivir . They require a prescription and are most effective if started within 48 hours of getting symptoms. Stay home from school or work if you are ill to avoid spreading the flu to others.
- Monday to Friday, 08:00 a.m. – 05:00 p.m.
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Can I Get The Flu Year
While it is possible to catch the flu during the year, it is much more probable to contract it between October and March.
There are several possible reasons why flu season spikes in the winter:
1. People are indoors more often and in close contact with others, which makes it easier for the virus to spread
2. Colder and less humid air is likely more conducive to the spread of the flu, as the virus can live for longer in these conditions.
3. Due to fewer daylight hours, our vitamin D and melatonin intake decrease, weakening our immune system.
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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What’s The Difference Between The Flu Vs Covid
Since many symptoms of the flu and COVID-19 can be very similar, it may be difficult to differentiate between the three illnesses. It is important to be able to differentiate between the two. However, it may be helpful to receive a flu or COVID-19 test to confirm your illness.
Symptom Comparison: COVID-19 vs. Flu
Michigans Flu Season Turns Deadly Early With Some Clinics Short On Vaccine
A 69-year-old Oakland County man has died from the flu becoming an early and apparently first death of the Michigan flu season, even as overall flu cases remain sporadic.
The death, announced Thursday by the Oakland County Health Division, comes as health officials campaign for more residents to get vaccines, and as pockets of Michigan struggle to get enough shots to meet demand.
The shortage has forced some county departments, including Oakland Countys, to postpone or cancel clinics, while other providers say they have plenty in stock even as the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended that consumers were vaccinated by Oct. 31.
In some cases, retailers may have one kind of vaccine, but theyre struggling to build stock in another.
It seems to be a lag behind where we usually are. pushed back shipping dates, so thats pushed back our ability to have them on hand for consumers, said Ruth Manier, director of community health services at Dickinson-Iron District Health Department in Michigans Upper Peninsula.
Her department has already cancelled six clinics and postponed several others, she said.
The Western Upper Peninsula Health Department also has struggled to get enough doses of vaccines that protect the general public and a high-dose version for seniors, said Cari DiGiorgio, the departments public health director.
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Early And Unusual Start To Flu Season Across Us And Florida
MIAMI — Flu season is now underway for most of the United States including Florida. It’s the earliest start in more than 15 years. Federal health officials have released their first case estimates.
The southern states are the hardest hit right now and flu B viruses are dominating.
Dr. William Schaffner from Vanderbilt University Medical Center says, “That’s a bit odd because the influenza Bs are usually more active at the end of the season. Here we are at the beginning. We don’t know why that is, but it’s noteworthy because influenza Bs like to affect children.”
The CDC estimates, so far this season, there have been as many as 2.5 million flu illnesses, 29,000 hospitalizations, and 2,400 deaths nationwide. Five of those deaths were children, according to the CDC.
Twelve states and Puerto Rico are now experiencing high influenza-like illness.
The states are: Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Washington.
In Florida, flu activity is increasing and remained “above levels observed at this time in previous seasons,” according to the Florida Department of Health. Flu activity is also “particularly elevated in children for this time in the season.”
Doctors say now is the time to get your flu shot if you haven’t been vaccinated.
It was bad, but not as bad as the one before it, when flu caused an estimated 61,000 deaths and 810,000 hospitalizations.
Breeds Of Vaccine Hesitancy
But convincing Georgians to take collective action against COVID-19 has been difficult so far. Many are weary of restrictions and others mistrust the experts who call for them.
But Georgians are not altogether opposed to vaccines. The same America Health Ranking report shows that nearly 80% of Georgia children have received their standard childhood immunization, putting the state at a respectable 14th place nationwide.
Oregon, the state with the lowest childhood vaccination rate, is well ahead of Georgia for COVID-19 vaccinations at 12th place.
Differences like these underline the fact that the vaccine hesitant are not a monolith and can come to their beliefs through starkly different political ideologies, Fung said.
Those groups of people, their reason of not having their kids vaccinated will be very different from those Southerners living in rural Georgia who choose not to get themselves COVID-19 vaccinations, Fung said. So they are different groups of people who have very different ideology or worldviews and varying views about vaccines.
The broader anti-vaccine movement got a major foothold out west, largely among liberal, mostly white and relatively affluent parents. That breed of anti-vaccine sentiment did not become as common in Georgia, but there does appear to be a correlation between Republican voters and COVID vaccine skepticism in the Peach State.
This story comes to GPB through a reporting partnership with Georgia Recorder.
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When Should I Get A Flu Shot In 2021
Public health officials are reminding everyone that getting a flu shot or influenza vaccination this season is imperative to protect yourself from getting the flu and prevent overwhelming the hospital during the COVID-19 pandemic.
It is recommended that everyone 6 months or older get a flu vaccineFlu shots are typically effective for about 6 months, so getting the shot by the end of October is the best option to increase the chance of protection during the entirety of the season.
Research supports that the flu shot is safe for pregnant women and important to avoid health problems during pregnancy.
Georgia Health Department Predicts A Mild Flu Season While Stressing Getting Immunized
Health officials in Northwest Georgia are tracking flu numbers so far this year.
They say one factor that has a big impact is how many people get a flu shot.
Its three on our scale of one to 13,” said Georgia Health Department PIO Logan Boss. “So far, there have been no influenza-related deaths, no reports of influenza hospitalizations.
Boss is helping monitor flu numbers this year.
He said many predictions for Northwest Georgia are based on numbers coming from areas below the equator.
This year in the Southern Hemisphere, were seeing the same thing a non-existent or very, very mild flu season which could be a precursor for what were going to see in the northern hemisphere,” said Boss.
However, he said a mild flu season is not a guarantee.
A big factor in those numbers will be how many people get a flu shot.
We want to see people in all ten of our NW GA counties immunized against flu,” said Boss. “Getting a flu shot is the single best way to prevent getting the flu.
He stressed getting immunized is especially important for children not yet eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine as a way to keep their immune system healthy.
Right now, any child over six months of age can get a flu shot and in fact, its recommended anyone over six months of age gets a flu shot,” said Boss.
While it’s not officially proven, Boss added the using certain practices recommended by the CDC to prevent the spread of COVID are also useful for preventing the spread of the flu.
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What Regions Are Seeing Flu Activity
Though the flu is generally low across the country, certain regions New Mexico, Georgia, and Rhode Island have seen more flu activity in recent weeks.
Southern regions are seeing the greatest flu activity. This is consistent with trends reported over the last couple flu seasons, according to Dr. Kevin Ban, the chief medical officer at Walgreens.
flu surveillance data from the CDC, influenza has recently been very active in kids under 5 years of age.
Likely, this age group may not be vaccinated yet or may not be as good about masking. Also, school is a big factor, as all viruses spread more in this age group, said Dr. Purvi Parikh, an immunologist with Allergy & Asthma Network.
Everyone ages 6 months and over are advised to get the flu shot each year.
Lynnette Brammer , MPH, the team lead for the Domestic Influenza Surveillance team in the Epidemiology and Prevention Branch of CDCs Influenza Division, said the flu is also very active among those ages 5 to 24.
Young adults and children are common drivers of community spread of flu, and the activity we are seeing now is not unusual, Brammer said.
The CDC has also reported several large outbreaks at urban centers, like colleges and universities, Brammer said.
The CDC is investigating a flu outbreak at the University of Michigan, where 528 people since October 6 have been diagnosed with the flu 77 percent of whom were unvaccinated.
Both are treated very similarly, but A can be more severe, Parikh said.
You Still Have Time To Get Your Flu Vaccine
The CDC typically recommends that adults get their flu shots by the end of October each year. But if you missed that deadline, itâs still a good idea to get vaccinated. Although the flu season usually peaks in the late fall and winter, it can last into the spring which means getting vaccinated now will still provide protection for the coming months.
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What Are The Vaccine Side Effects
The flu shot contains only killed viruses and cannot give you the flu. The vaccine boosts the immune response against influenza. Some minor side effects that could occur are soreness, redness, or swelling where the shot is given, low grade fever or aches that last 1-2 days. The nasal-spray vaccine contains weakened viruses and does not cause the severe symptoms of an influenza illness. Side effects could include runny nose, headache, vomiting, aches, fever, sore throat or cough. Serious side effects are very uncommon with either vaccine and the risks associated with the disease are much greater than the risks associated with vaccination.
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Protect yourself and the people around you, and help reduce the strain on your communitys healthcare systems by getting your flu shot.
Getting a flu vaccine is an essential part of protecting your health and your familys health.
Flu shots may be even more important this year, as many communities continue to see community spread of COVID-19.
Flu shots not only prevent many cases of influenza, but also decrease the severity of illness for someone who is vaccinated but still develops the flu.
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The Start Of The Season
Nikki Bryant, owner of the Adams Family Pharmacy in Preston and Cuthbert, said both locations have started receiving vaccines, and people are beginning to come in for their yearly flu shot.
In retail pharmacy, for flu vaccines, we have to pre-order those vaccines early, like in February or March, so we pre-ordered those we already have the high dose for 65 and older available, but we still havent received the regular flu shots for under 65, she said. Last year, it was pretty mild. I mean, we still gave a lot of shots, but the flu season was very mild because people were washing their hands more, wearing masks, social distancing because of COVID, so there wasnt a lot of spread for flu.
In fact, less than 1% of respiratory specimens tested by U.S. clinical laboratories were positive for an influenza virus, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In a typical year, the number of positive tests would be closer to 30%. Hospitalizations and deaths from influenza were also significantly lower than normal.
And while its difficult to predict the severity of a flu season before it begins, last years low rates could be a sign of a stronger flu season this year, Bryant said. Shes hoping more people will get vaccinated early against the flu before they have to ask her advice for treating its symptoms.
Does Flu Season Change From Year To Year
Because of the cold weather and more people being forced to be inside together, flu season remains fairly consistent each year. However, the weeks within flu season that the flu cases are the highest tend to change yearly. Still, they are almost always between December and March.
Additionally, the time in which a specific part of the country spikes may also change yearly. One week, there can be a spike in cases in the Northeast, and the following week, there could be a spike in the South.
Luckily, there are reporting symptoms that track outbreaks and can potentially let you know when a spike might be coming to your area.
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