The Center for Disease Control says every state is reporting outbreaks and this year looks to be worse than last year. Typically the flu can kill anywhere between 4,000 and 50,000 Americans. This season, Influenza A, also known as the H3N2 is currently the prominent strain and is making people sicker. The height of the flu season is just approaching and it’s not uncommon to see a second wave with influenza B come through.
Does this year’s flu shot contain all the circulating viruses?
Yes, this year’s vaccine does contain all the circulating viruses, however, it may be less effective against the H3N2. To help you avoid the flu, here are my prescriptions:
1. Get the flu shot if you haven’t already
Even if you do catch the flu, it may be milder than if you weren’t vaccinated.
2. Wash your hands to reduce spreading germs
Use soap & water and scrub for 20 seconds.
3. Avoid close contact with sick people and if you do get sick, please stay home
This helps prevent spreading germs to others.
4. Get plenty of rest, eat healthy and be sure to exercise
Moderate exercise may affect your immune system by sending white blood cells through your body, killing off any intruders they find.
Is it too late to get the flu shot?
When you get the flu shot, it does take a few weeks to produce antibodies that provide protection. But the season hits hardest between December and February so getting a flu shot now can provide protection for the second half of the season. Anyone 6 months and older should get a flu shot.
When is the flu a medical emergency?
You can suffer with flu complications like pneumonia. This sends roughly 200,000 Americans to the hospital each year. Please get medical help if you have difficulty breathing, shortness of breath, have pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen, or if you have sudden dizziness, confusion or severe vomiting. If you do end up becoming hospitalized, there are antiviral drugs that can help.