According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), "seasonal influenza activity can begin as early as October and continue through May." In other words, you need to be prepared!
What Is the flu?
So, what exactly is the seasonal flu? The CDC defines it as "a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat, and lungs." Symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, fatigue (tiredness), and sometimes vomiting and diarrhea. While these symptoms can be unpleasant, they are usually mild and go away on their own within a week or two.
However, the seasonal flu can also lead to more serious health complications like pneumonia, which can be life-threatening. According to the CDC, people at high risk for developing pneumonia from the flu include young children, adults 65 years of age or older,, pregnant women,, American Indians/Alaska Natives, and people with certain chronic medical conditions like asthma, diabetes, or heart disease.
Protect Yourself and Others
So what can you do to protect yourself and your loved ones from the seasonal flu? The CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine for everyone six months of age and older as the best way to reduce the risk of getting sick from the flu. Flu vaccines are safe and effective, and they can be given by injection. In addition to getting vaccinated, you can also take simple steps like washing your hands often and avoiding close contact with people who are sick.
If you do get sick with the flu, there are also antiviral drugs that can be used to treat it. These drugs can make your illness milder and help you feel better faster. They may also prevent serious flu complications. So if you think you may have the flu, be sure to contact your healthcare provider right away.
- In the 2019-2020 season, more 22,000 people in the U.S. died from flu. Deaths decreased to about 700 for the 2020-2021 season.
- One of the most common myths about flu vaccines is that they can cause the flu. However, this is simply not true. The viruses in the vaccine are inactive, which means that they cannot cause infection. In addition, the vaccines are designed to protect against the most common and dangerous strains of the flu virus. As a result, getting a flu vaccine is one of the best ways to reduce your risk of becoming sick during flu season. If you do experience any side effects after getting a flu vaccine, they are usually mild and go away quickly. So there is no need to worry that the vaccine will make you sick.
- Despite what many people believe, healthy people can get sick and die from influenza. In fact, every year, thousands of Americans die from the flu, even though they were healthy when they got sick. One of the reasons for this is that the influenza virus is constantly changing, which makes it difficult for our immune system to keep up.
- You can still get the flu even if you've had the vaccine, however, people who get the flu and have gotten the flu shot have lower rates of complications and shorter, less severe symptoms.
The bottom line is this: the best way to protect yourself and your loved ones from the seasonal flu is to get vaccinated every year. But even if you do get sick, there are still things you can do to manage your symptoms and feel better soon.
If you are unsure or have any questions about the flu or the flu vaccine, talk to your doctor. For information about New Wave Physicians visit www.newwavephysicians.com