The dreaded flu season is upon us. Are you prepared? If not, we’re here for you and have information to help you navigate this flu season more easily. Find out more about what to expect this year and how you can keep you and your loved ones healthy.
What will flu season be like this year?
Other than having the knowledge of it being flu season, influenza is unpredictable. We expect this season every year, but the timing, severity and length of the season varies from year to year, as well as the different strains of the virus. While we cannot predict the severity of this year’s flu season, we can help ourselves and each other out by taking steps to help prevent catching and spreading the flu. If you are looking to monitor the severity of flu season, you can check out the weekly influenza surveillance report prepared by the Influenza Division to keep yourself alert.
How has the flu shot changed this year?
Every year, there are different flu viruses that circulate throughout the country, which calls for the composition of United States flu vaccines to be reviewed and updated on an annual basis. This year, flu vaccines have been updated to better match the viruses that are anticipated to be circulating in the United States. All of the regular-dose vaccines will be quadrivalent, meaning they work by stimulating an immune response against four different antigens and the virus is grown in eggs, rather than a trivalent vaccine where the virus is grown in a cell culture and creates an immune response against three different antigens of the virus. Recombinant vaccines will also be quadrivalent.
How can I help prevent catching and spreading the flu?
Flu vaccination is the best way to protect your health during flu season. You will want to get this as soon as you can since it takes about 2 weeks for your body to develop protection against the flu. However, here are some more helpful ways you can protect yourself and others during flu season:
- Stay away from those who have become sick with the flu.
- When you sneeze or cough, cover your mouth with a tissue and then throw it away.
- Wash your hands with soap and water or use hand sanitizer.
- To prevent the spread of germs, try to not touch your nose, mouth or eyes.
- Clean surfaces that are often touched like doorknobs and keyboards.
- If you have the flu, stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone.
And remember that the flu can spread up to 5 to 7 days from the time you become aware of the symptoms, so take time to rest and recuperate during that time, allowing your body to heal and keep others safe.
At Community Access Network, we want to support you in your pursuit of healthy living and flu prevention. If you think you may have the flu or are looking to get a flu shot, stop by one of our locations to get the help that you need.