Each year the United States experiences a flu epidemic. The United States flu season begins around October and can last into May. Influenza cases usually peak between December and February.
What is the Flu?
The flu is a contagious respiratory illness that affects thousands in the U.S. each year. The flu can cause mild to severe illness, and sometimes death. Young children, older adults, and people with certain health conditions are at high risk to experience serious complications from the flu.
How can I Tell If I Have the Flu?
- Sore throat
- Runny nose
- Body aches
- Occasionally vomiting and diarrhea
How can I Protect Myself and My Family?
The CDC advises the best way to prevent the flu is to get vaccinated! The CDC also advises that you avoid contact with sick people or contact with others while you are sick. Cover your cough and sneeze, and always wash your hands. If you do get the flu, your doctor can prescribe you antiviral drugs that can help you feel better faster. It is recommended to get the flu shot as soon as it becomes available. It takes time for antibodies to build up in your system, so the sooner the better!
What Is In This Years Vaccine?
The 2015-2016 seasonal flu vaccine has been formulated to protect against an A(H1N1) virus, an influenza A(H3N2) virus, and one or two influenza B viruses, depending on the vaccine. The CDC recommends that everyone 6 months and older be vaccinated every year. The vaccine is typically available through intramuscular injection or an intranasal spray.
Will the Vaccine Give Me The Flu?
It is important to know that the flu vaccine CANNOT cause the flu. The flu shot is either made with an inactive, non-infectious virus, or with no virus at all. The nasal spray does contain live viruses. These live viruses area weakened and also CANNOT cause the flu. The live weakened viruses have been designed in a way that they cannot live in warm temperatures, like your lungs!
What Are The Flu Vaccine Side Effects?
Common side effects from the flu vaccine include: Soreness, redness and swelling at injection site, low grade fever, and aches. Side effects to the nasal spray include: Runny nose, wheezing, headache, vomiting, muscles aches, and fever. Side effects are typically mild and short-lived. Allergic reactions are uncommon but can be serious, and all children should be monitored after receiving any vaccination.
Please see your doctor and ask about receiving this year’s Flu vaccine to help protect you and your family! If you think you have the flu, consult with your doctor and be sure to ask about antiviral medicines. For more information regarding the flu and the 2015-2016 vaccines please visit http://www.cdc.gov/flu/index.