December 2nd - 8th is National Influenza Vaccination Week. Now is the time to get your flu vaccine If you haven’t gotten yours yet. An annual flu vaccine is the first and best way to protect against the influenza virus. National Influenza Vaccination Week (December 2nd - 8th) highlights the importance of continuing flu vaccination through the holiday season and beyond. The Flu Vaccination Prevents Flu! Flu season is in full force. As long as flu viruses are spreading and causing illness, vaccination can still provide protection against flu. Most of the time, flu activity peaks between December and February in the United States, although activity can last as late as May. Flu activity is expected to increase in the coming weeks; the sooner you get vaccinated, the more likely you are to be protected against flu when activity picks up in your community. Does everyone need the Flu Vaccine? According to the CDC, a yearly flu vaccine for everyone 6 months of age and older as the first and most important step in protecting against seasonal flu viruses. Vaccination to prevent flu is particularly important for people who are at high risk of serious complications from influenza. It takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body and provide protection against flu. Everyday Actions to Prevent the Flu In addition to getting your flu vaccine this season, the CDC also urges you to take everyday preventive actions to protect yourself and your loved ones from flu. The CDC says everyday preventive actions include the following:
- Avoid close contact with sick people.
- While sick, limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them.
- If you are sick, stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone, except to get medical care or other necessities.
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs spread this way.
- Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs like flu.
Take steps to avoid the flu. It’s fall. Fall not only brings beautiful colorful Colorado leaves, but it also brings cooler temperatures. And even more so, fall means the flu season is upon us. Last year’s flu season was the worst on record. According to the CDC, 2017-2018 was classified as a high severity season with high levels of outpatient clinic and emergency department visits for influenza-like illness, high influenza-related hospitalization rates, and widespread influenza activity across the United States for an extended period. The CDC estimates the flu caused between 140,000 and 710,000 hospitalizations and between 12,000 and 56,000 deaths annually in the U.S. since 2010. While estimates for last season won’t be available until later in the fall, it’s likely that last season was record-breaking across both of these key indicators used to track severity. It’s not possible to predict how severe the upcoming season will be, but we know that the best way to prevent flu and its potentially serious complications is a flu vaccine. Flu viruses make you feel like every part of your body is sick, but infect nose, throat, and lungs and can cause a wide range of complications. Sinus and ear infections, as well as in moderate to severe cases pneumonia are examples of moderate complications from flu. Flu virus infections can also cause serious complications like inflammation of the heart (myocarditis), brain (encephalitis) or muscle (myositis, rhabdomyolysis), and multi-organ failure (for example, respiratory and kidney failure). Flu can also trigger an extreme inflammatory response in the body and can lead to sepsis, the body’s life-threatening response to infection. The U.S. experienced high rates of hospitalization and severe disease during the past seven flu seasons. Flu vaccination can help keep you from getting sick from flu. Protecting yourself from flu also helps protect the people around you who are more vulnerable to serious flu illness. Make an appointment today to get your flu vaccination before the flu season is in full swing.
You’ve probably been asked a few times lately if you’ve had your flu shot. If you haven’t and would like more information read a few information bits from the CDC about the flu and flu shots. Why should people get vaccinated against the flu? Influenza is a serious disease that can lead to hospitalization and sometimes even death. Every flu season is different, and influenza infection can affect people differently. Even healthy people can get very sick from the flu and spread it to others. Over a period of 31 seasons between 1976 and 2007, estimates of flu-associated deaths in the United States range from a low of about 3,000 to a high of about 49,000 people. During recent flu seasons, between 80% and 90% of flu related deaths have occurred in people 65 years and older. "Flu season" in the United States can begin as early as October and last as late as May. During this time, flu viruses are circulating at higher levels in the U.S. population. An annual seasonal flu vaccine is the best way to reduce the chances that you will get seasonal flu and spread it to others. When more people get vaccinated against the flu, less flu can spread through that community. How do flu vaccines work? Flu vaccines cause antibodies to develop in the body about two weeks after vaccination. These antibodies provide protection against infection with the viruses that are in the vaccine. The seasonal flu vaccine protects against the influenza viruses that research indicates will be most common during the upcoming season. Traditional flu vaccines (called "trivalent" vaccines) are made to protect against three flu viruses; an influenza A (H1N1) virus, an influenza A (H3N2) virus, and an influenza B virus. There are also flu vaccines made to protect against four flu viruses (called "quadrivalent" vaccines). These vaccines protect against the same viruses as the trivalent vaccine and an additional B virus. Looking for more information? Ask your doctor and schedule your appointment to get your flu shot.