This Year’s Flu Season: Repeat Of Last Year Or A Twindemic
But, experts say, it is far too early to say if the country will have a normal â i.e., bad â flu season or a repeat of last year, when the flu all but disappeared amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
This flu season is starting out more like the seasons before the pandemic. About 2% of all visits to doctors and outpatient clinics through Nov. 13 were flu or flu-like illnesses, compared to about 1.4% a year ago, the CDC says. Cases so far are being counted in the hundreds â 702 through Nov. 13.
Still, while cases are low, they are increasing, the agency says. The spread of flu is already high in New Mexico and moderate in Georgia. The rest of the country is seeing little activity, according to the CDC.
This time last year, cases of flu, hospitalizations and deaths were down dramatically, despite fears that a drastic ”twindemic” could occur if cases of COVID-19 and influenza increased greatly, and in tandem. The comparisons of last year’s flu season statistics to previous years are startling â in a good way.
In the 2019-2020 season, more 22,000 people in the U.S. died from flu last year, deaths decreased to about 700 for the 2020-2021 season.
So, what might happen this year? Will flu be a no-show once again? Several top experts say itâs complicated:
Already, Schaffner says, âwe are beginning to hear about some outbreaks.”
What’s in This Year’s Vaccine?
Two Arms, Two Vaccines
Undoing the âFlu Isn’t Badâ Thinking
How Is Flu Data Different From Covid
The flu and COVID-19 are different, though they do have similar symptoms that can make it hard to tell them apart. One of the key ways that we can keep track of all the data is by testing people who have symptoms to find out if they have the flu, COVID, or another kind of respiratory illness.
Clinical labs and public health departments both test specimens to look for signs of the flu, but each has a different goal.
Clinical labs are more geared toward providing a flu diagnosis while public health labs are looking at the larger trends in flu illnessfor example, which subtypes of the flu are circulating and how quickly cases of the flu are growing in different places and among different groups of people.
Public health departments often test samples that were already tested in clinical labs to look for a diagnosis, which is why the CDC tracks specimens tested by each type of lab separately to make sure that the numbers are not duplicated .
Some specimens tested for the flu might also be tested for COVID at the same time, or, if the flu test is negative, a person might need a COVID test next. This will probably be more common in the winter months when both types of viruses end up circulating at the same time.
Eventually, we may reach a point where we have a recurring “COVID season” like the annual flu season. For now, public health authorities are trying to follow both illnesses as they move through communities and report the data separately.
What Is The Flu
Influenza is a contagious respiratory illness typically in the nose, throat, and lungs caused by influenza viruses. It can result in mild to severe illness and sometimes death. The best way to prevent flu is by getting vaccinated each year with a flu vaccine. Use the vaccine finder to find a flu vaccine location near you! Find out more about flu by clicking the flu basics button below.
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What Is Seasonal Influenza
Seasonal influenza, also known as the flu, is an illness that causes fever, headache, tiredness, cough, sore throat, nasal congestion and body aches. It is usually spread from person to person by coughing and sneezing. Flu season in Ohio can begin as early as October and run as late as March. However, it is not uncommon for sporadic cases to appear all year long.
Most people who get the flu usually recover in one to two weeks, but the flu can be deadly. An estimated 200,000 people are hospitalized with the flu each year in the U.S. On average, it is estimated that there are more than 20,000 flu related deaths many of which could have been prevented with a flu vaccine.
Flu vaccines are designed to protect against the influenza viruses that experts predict will be the most common during the upcoming season. There are three kinds of influenza viruses commonly circulate among people today which include: Influenza A viruses, Influenza A viruses, and Influenza B viruses. Each year, these viruses are used to produce seasonal influenza vaccine.
Influenza Vaccine Composition for the 202122 Season
Influenza vaccines expected to be available in the United States for the 202122 season will be quadrivalent vaccines. For the 202122 season, U.S. egg-based influenza vaccines will contain HA derived from
For the 202122 season, U.S. cell culturebased inactivated and recombinant influenza vaccines will contain HA derived from
Tis The Season For The Cold And Flu
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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Whos Most At Risk Of Getting The Flu
Typically, children and older people are most at risk of getting sick with influenza. The best way to protect babies who are too young to be vaccinated is to make sure people around them are vaccinated. Occasionally, a flu virus will circulate that disproportionately affects young and middle-age adults.
You also can reduce the spread of the flu and its effects by taking such practical measures as washing your hands, covering coughs and sneezes, and staying home when youre sick.
The FDA has approved numerous vaccines for the prevention of influenza. But if you do get the flu, there are FDA-approved antiviral drugs, available by prescription, to treat your illness. There are several FDA-approved antiviral drugs recommended by the CDC for use against circulating influenza viruses. These drugs work best if started soon after the onset of symptoms .
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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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 .
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.
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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.
Ways To Prepare For Cold And Flu Season
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Final 2019/20 Flu Numbers
The final data on flu season 2019/2020 was released by the CDC in April as COVID-19 continued to spread throughout the United States.
Between October 1, 2019 and April 4, 2020, the flu resulted in:
- 39 to 56 million illnesses
- 410,000 to 740,000 hospitalizations
- 195 pediatric deaths
Flu or Coronavirus? Learn the Difference
Health officials are urging people to get their flu vaccine as soon as possible this year to prevent the spread of flu amidst the coronavirus pandemic. Contact your primary care provider to schedule your flu shot or call your local pharmacy for more information.
When Does The 2021 Flu Season Begin In The United States It May Be Sooner Than You Think
Flu season can vary every year and the best way to prevent it is by getting the flu shot. Sam Owens | MLive.com
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. While seasonal influenza viruses are detected year-round, flu viruses are most common during the fall and winter also known as flu season.
While flu spreads every year, the timing, severity and length of the season varies from one season to another, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention . Flu season can start in the United States as early as October and end as late as early May. Normally, it peaks from December through February.
The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat, and sometimes the lungs, the CDC states. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times, can lead to death.
About 8% of the U.S. population gets sick from the flu each season, with a range of between 3% and 11%, depending on the season, according to CDC research.
HOW CAN I PREVENT THE FLU?
The best way to prevent yourself and your family from getting the flu is by getting a flu vaccine each year, the CDC recommends.
Its recommended for everyone 6 months and older, with few exceptions.
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How Is The Flu Season Monitored
There are state, national, and international surveillance systems that track influenza virus activity. The CDC provides national surveillance and tracks the following items to calculate flu activity:
Data from clinical laboratories: Laboratories report the number of positive flu tests.
Data from outpatient visits: Healthcare providers can volunteer to be part of ILINet, which provides data on how many people come to the office with influenza-like symptoms.
Data from hospitalizations: Some hospitals take part in FluSurv-NET, which provides data on how many people are hospitalized with influenza.
The CDCs FluView reports comprehensive flu activity data each week. They also have an interactive map where you can track flu activity throughout the country and see how the current flu season compares with previous years.
Facts About Flu Vaccinations
- The CDC recommends that all children above six months of age receive the flu vaccine annually.
- This vaccine is normally administered via a simple intravenous injection, but a nasal spray vaccination is currently being tested for widespread use.
- The flu vaccine should take approximately two weeks to begin protecting against influenza.
- If a person receives only one vaccination when he actually needs two, it may have no effect.
- Vaccinations must be performed at least four weeks apart from each other.
- Different flu vaccines are formulated to combat each strain of the flu virus.
- Every year, medical researchers determine which flu virus will be most prevalent during the upcoming flu season and provide that information to flu vaccine manufacturers.
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Is The Flu Vaccine Safe
Yes. Flu vaccines have been used for over 50 years and have been safely given to hundreds of millions of people, including pregnant people. Flu vaccines, like all vaccines used in the U.S., are carefully monitored for safety through the U.S. vaccine monitoring systems .
Find answers to more questions about vaccine safety.
The Reason For The Season: Why Flu Strikes In Winter
Did you get your flu shot? If your friends are anything like mine, you heard this question at least a dozen times before Thanksgiving. You probably got your fair share of disdainful looks too, if you answered No. But why are we worried about getting the flu shot now and not in May? Why is there a flu season at all? After all, what does a virus living in a host who provides a dependable, cozy incubation chamber of 98°F, care whether it is freezing and snowy outside or warm and sunny? This question has bothered people for a long time, but only recently have we begun to understand the answer.
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Was The Flu Vaccine Effective In 2020
The flu shot is developed at the start of each season to protect from strains of the flu. More than 170 million doses of the flu vaccine were administered to fight the 2019/2020 flu virus. At the beginning of the year, the vaccine reduced doctor’s visits by 45% overall and 55% in children, but rates among children and young adults were higher earlier in the season compared to recent seasons.
“The vaccine has significantly reduced medical visits associated with influenza so far this season,” the CDC announced in its February 21 report.
If you have already received your vaccine for the 2020/2021 season, you dont need to get a second shot–except children under the age of 9 who are getting vaccinated for the first time.
While its possible to get the flu even if you get the shot, vaccination reduces your risk of getting sick and may lessen the severity of the symptoms if you do, explained the CDC’s Lynnette Brammer.
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