Friday, September 7, 2018

Flu Season 2018-2019

Flu Season 2018-2019

Influenza viruses typically circulate in the United States annually, most commonly from late fall through early spring. Most who are diagnosed with the flu will recover without any real issues; however, influenza can cause serious illness, hospitalization, and death, particularly among older adults, very young children, pregnant women, and those with certain chronic medical conditions.

Routine annual influenza vaccination of all persons aged ≥6 months without contraindications continues to be recommended. No preferential recommendation is made for one influenza vaccine product over another.

There are different types of vaccines available:
      Trivalent (3 strain) variety:
      Standard 3 strain shot (for ages 18-64)
      High-dose 3 strain shot (for ages 65 and older)
      Recombinant egg-free 3 strain shot (for ages 18 and older and pregnant women)
      Quadvalent (4 strain) variety
      Intradermal (under the skin) version
      Standard 4 strain shot (for ages 4 and older)
      Recombinant 4 strain shot (for ages 18 and older and pregnant women

Due to the unpredictability of timing of the onset of the flu season, and concerns that vaccine-induced immunity might diminish over the course of a season, it is recommended that vaccination should be offered by the end of October. Children aged 6 months through 8 years who require 2 doses should receive their first dose as soon as possible after the vaccine becomes available, to allow the second dose (which must be administered ≥4 weeks later) to be received before the end of October. Re-vaccination later in the season of persons who have already been fully vaccinated is not recommended. 

Optimally, vaccination should be received before flu activity is seen in the community. The ideal time to start vaccinating cannot be predicted because the timing of the onset, peak, and decline of influenza activity varies; more than one outbreak might occur in a given community in a single year. In the United States, localized outbreaks that indicate the start of seasonal influenza activity can occur as early as October.  About 75 percent of the past seasons saw a peak of influenza occur in January or later, sometimes even as late as February.

It is important to take preventive actions to stop the spread of germs during the flu season.  The CDC recommends staying at home for at least 24 hours after fever is gone, cover your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing, wash hands often with soap and water (alcohol based hand rub will do if water is not available) and clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may become contaminated.

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