Last year’s flu season was the first to be classified as a high-severity level across all age groups by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), with hospitalization rates at their highest recorded in recent years. Now is the time to prepare your family and protect those most at risk.
Get Vaccinated Before Halloween
The CDC recommends that everyone above the age of six months receive this year’s flu vaccine before the end of October. Last year, flu season generally peaked between November and February, with January being one of the worst months for hospitalizations.
Questioning if you really need a vaccine? Sadly, the statistics are quite sobering. As of late August 2018, a total of 180 pediatric deaths were reported to CDC during the 2017-2018 flu season (the highest number in recent years). Approximately 80 percent of these deaths occurred in children who had not received a flu vaccination. Flu vaccines are not perfect, but they do save lives.
Most health insurance programs cover flu shots. If you are concerned about affording vaccines for your family, there are many different discounted or free options to consider. Contact your doctor or pharmacy for more information.
Preventing the Flu
Aside from protecting yourself and others by getting vaccinated, you should also do what you can to limit the spread of the illness. The CDC has three recommendations:
Flu Symptoms to Watch For
- Stay home if you are sick – If you are sick with a flu-like illness, the CDC recommends that you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone (without the use of a fever-reducing medicine).
- Wash hands often – We should all wash our hands with soap and water after coughing or sneezing, before eating, and before touching our faces in any way.
- Clean contaminated surfaces – Regularly disinfecting surfaces like door knobs, bathrooms, kitchens, and mobile devices can help stop the spread of germs.
If you or someone in your family begins experiencing flu symptoms and they are also high risk (e.g. people 65 years and older, people of any age with chronic medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes, or heart disease, pregnant women, and young children), call your doctor right away. If you are an otherwise healthy adult with flu symptoms, call your doctor if you experience:
In summary, there is no better way to avoid the flu than getting a flu shot and practicing good health habits. Protect your family today!
- Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
- Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
- Difficulty staying hydrated
- Sudden dizziness
- Severe or persistent vomiting
- Flu-like symptoms that improve but then return with fever and worse cough