The flu (influenza) season is soon upon us. Are you and your family ready? Here are a few simple tips to help you stay healthy and keep others from falling ill as well. If you have questions about the flu or need to get your shot this season, speak with a Health Mart pharmacist near you.
Flu facts: Who knew?
Chances are that you’ve had the flu, but now it’s time to test your knowledge about this pesky flu bug that shows up every year.
- Most flu activity occurs during January.
False. According to the Center for Disease Control records over 32 years, the peak month of flu activity is February, followed by December and then January and March. The “seasonal flu season” can start in October and can last as long as May.1
- The flu shot only protects against one type of flu.
False. Traditional flu vaccines or shots are made to protect against three different flu viruses (called “trivalent” vaccines) are available, and flu vaccines are available that are made to protect against four different flu viruses (called “quadrivalent” vaccines). Depending on your age, your healthcare professional will help you determine which vaccine is best to help you.2
- The flu vaccine takes a few weeks before it works.
True. It takes your body about two weeks after the flu shot to develop antibodies that protect against the virus from infecting you. Therefore, it’s really important to have your flu shot before the flu season starts. 3
Flu Season: Who’s at risk?
The flu can be a relatively minor occurrence, taking several days in most healthy people. Others however may develop complications from the flu (e.g. pneumonia) that can be life threatening.5 That’s why it is important to practice good hygiene to help prevent the spread of germs to those at greater risk.4
- Children and infants
- Pregnant women
- People with disabilities
- People with health conditions
- Travelers and people living abroad
3 Tips to Outsmart the Flu
- Get your flu vaccine
Everyone 6 months of age and older should get a flu vaccine as soon as the current season’s vaccines are available.
- Help stop the spread of germs
It’s simple. Wash your hands with soap and water. Cover your mouth when you sneeze. And, avoid close contact with sick people.
- Follow your doctor’s orders
If you get sick and your doctor prescribes flu antiviral drugs, take them and be sure to follow the full course of medication.
Are YOU a travel bug?
You need to travel and you don’t feel well. Should you get on that plane? The Center for Disease Control (CDC) says no.6
- To help cut down on the spread of germs, you should be fever free for 24-hours before traveling
- If you are not ill, the CDC recommends a flu shot to help reduce the risk of contracting an illness while you are traveling to your destination
- Because flu seasons vary, it’s important to stay current on your flu vaccination