Influenza is a viral disease that is highly contagious and can lead to a number of dangerous medical complications. Getting influenza can be particularly hazardous for young children, older people and individuals who have other medical conditions. To prevent influenza, the CDC recommends getting an annual flu shot, which is highly effective and can protect you from the most severe complications of the disease. Here are a few facts to keep in mind as you plan to get your immunization for the 2019 influenza season.
When Is Flu Season?
Influenza viruses circulate through the U.S. population throughout the year, but at certain times of the year, generally the fall and winter, these viruses become more prevalent. Flu season peaks from December to February, but you can still catch the influenza virus well into May. Individuals should receive their influenza vaccine early in the season, because it takes two weeks for the antibodies to provide protection against influenza.
Types of Vaccines To Protect Against Influenza
Influenza viruses come in many different types, and these viruses mutate quickly from one form to another. Vaccines are created to protect individuals against the most common forms of the influenza virus that are circulating among the population. Your vaccine may be “trivalent,” that is, designed to protect against three different forms of the virus, or “quadrivalent,” which protects against four of the most common types. Some vaccines are available to provide a boosted immune response against the virus, such as for older people. Nasal spray vaccine is available for individuals who cannot take the injected vaccine. Some types of influenza vaccine are made with small amounts of egg protein, which can be a problem for individuals with egg allergies. Vaccines that are created from cells, instead of egg protein are available for these patients. Talk to your physician about the best influenza vaccine for your and your family’s needs.
Expected Severity of 2019 Influenza Season
Scientists look to locations around the world, to see where influenza season has already occurred, as well as what type of influenza virus was prevalent in the previous season, to help them determine how severe it will be in the United States, The number of hospitalizations for influenza last year indicates that a more dangerous influenza virus may be prevalent in 2019-2020. Influenza always involves the risk of serious complications, and individuals should make a point of getting their shots before the season begins.
Benefits of Flu Vaccine
Your influenza shot can help prevent you from getting influenza. If you do get the flu, the shot can help you avoid the most serious symptoms. Flu shots are especially important in protecting children from the most serious complications of influenza. Your flu shot also helps to prevent complications if you have a serious, chronic illness. Pregnant women and their babies can be protected from the serious complications from influenza. Getting your vaccination also helps protect those who can’t get the shots, such as those who are too young, are allergic or have compromised immune systems, from being exposed to the influenza virus.
Symptoms of Influenza
Influenza causes a number of uncomfortable symptoms, including fever, generally above 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit, aching muscles, dry cough, persistent headache, fatigue, weakness, sweating, chills, sore throat and nasal congestion. If not carefully treated, either through self-care or a doctor’s attention, influenza can develop into signs of bronchitis, pneumonia, ear infections and even heart involvement. Pneumonia is the most serious complication from influenza and can lead to death. If you do not experience improvement in symptoms over a few days, see your doctor immediately for additional treatment. Antiviral medications can help to reduce severe symptoms of influenza.
How To Help Prevent Influenza Transmission
You can help to avoid getting influenza and other illnesses this season by talking to your doctor about getting an influenza shot in September or October. Avoid crowded areas where germs can spread easily. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue, and then throw the tissue away, or sneeze into your elbow. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth, which is the prime way to transmit germs. Wash your hands frequently during the day with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Regularly clean work surfaces to remove germs. If you do get sick, stay home, and don’t return to school or work until your fever is gone for 24 hours. Stay at least 3 feet away from anyone who appears to be sick.
Because the viruses that cause influenza can mutate so rapidly, it’s hard to predict exactly which form of the virus will be prevalent during the season. Your best protection is to receive you annual flu shot, to ensure that you can avoid the most severe symptoms that can occur. Make sure everyone in your family that is eligible gets their 2019 influenza shot.
To schedule your flu shot for the upcoming 2019 flu season, contact Sisselman Medical Group today. We offer flu shots and vaccines at our Commack and Massapequa locations.