With cold and influenza(flu) season upon us, it's time to take precautionary steps that might require a visit to an urgent medical care center. The following is an overview of these seasonal ailments that will lead to their better acquaintance and what safeguards you can take for their prevention.
According to the recommendations by the CDC, everyone age 6 months or older should get vaccinated; this is the most important first step for protection against this serious ailment.
Apart from taking the seasonal flu vaccination shot, you need to take preventive actions on a daily basis, such as washing your hands to mitigate the spread of germs and also staying away from people down with sickness.
If indeed you are down with flu, take a break from work or school and stay at home so that you don't spread the disease to others.
Additionally, there are antiviral drugs, the prescribed medications used for treating illnesses like influenza.
Here are a few things that are new for this flu season:
For the 2017-2018 flu season, CDC has recommended use of the flu shots(inactivated influenza vaccine or IIV) or the recombinant influenza vaccine(RIV).
Th nasal spray flu vaccine should not be used this season.
Only injectable flu shots should be used this flu season.
A quadrivalent recombinant flu vaccine is available this season.
Flu vaccines have been updated this season to match circulating viruses. This season flu vaccines include:
Standard-dose flu shots
High-dose shots recommended for older people Shots made with adjuvant recommended for older people
Shots made with virus that is grown in cell culture
Shots made with a vaccine production technology (recombinant vaccine) in which flu virus is not used
Flu viruses keep changing constantly. The composition of flu vaccines is updated annually to match flu viruses that are circulating. Flu vaccines help in protecting you against 3-4 viruses depending on the vaccine. For 2017-2018 flu season, it is recommended that three-component(trivalent) vaccines should contain:
An A/Michigan/45/2015 (H1N1)pdm09-like virus (updated)
A B/Brisbane/60/2008-like (B/Victoria lineage) virus
An A/Hong Kong/4801/2014 (H3N2)-like virus
Four-component(quadrivalent) vaccines protect against a second lineage of B viruses. They are recommended to contain the same viruses that the trivalent vaccines contain, along with a B/Phuket/3073/2013-like (B/Yamagata lineage) virus.
So far as timing of flu is concerned, it's quite unpredictable, varying in different locations of the country and even season to season. Flu viruses that are seasonal have been detected right through the year; seasonal flu activity, in general, may begin early in October and continue as late as till May. Flu activity peaks between December-March most commonly in the US.
You are strongly advised to be prompt in getting vaccinated against the flu so that you don't spread it in your community. Once you get you get the vaccination, the antibodies that protect against flu take about two weeks to develop within the body. You should plan to get vaccinated as early as the fall season onset, that is, before flu season begins. CDC recommends getting vaccinated by October end, if possible. However, getting vaccinated anytime, even during the flu season, is beneficial, even as late as January or later.
Children require two doses of this vaccine for protection, so for them, the vaccination process should ideally be sooner, since the time gap between the two doses is at least four weeks.