Each year, there’s a new crop of flu viruses that spread across the U.S., primarily from October through February. 2018-2019 will be no exception, and serious flu episodes can result in hospitalizations and deaths.
According the CDC, some new factors for this season include:
Flu vaccines have been updated to better match circulating viruses [the B/Victoria component was changed and the influenza A(H3N2) component was updated].
For the 2018-2019 season, the nasal spray flu vaccine (live attenuated influenza vaccine or “LAIV”) is again a recommended option for influenza vaccination of persons for whom it is otherwise appropriate. (Consult with your doctor to determine appropriateness.)
The CDC “estimates that flu has resulted in between 9.2 million and 35.6 million illnesses each year in the United States.” Protect yourself and others by following these recommendations:
Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
While sick, limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them.
If you are sick with flu-like illness ... stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities. Your fever should be gone for 24 hours without the use of a fever-reducing medicine.
Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. After using a tissue, throw it in the trash and wash your hands.
Wash your handsoften with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs spread this way.
Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs like flu.
Although the CDC recommends getting a flu shot by the end of October, “getting vaccinated later can still be beneficial and vaccination should continue to be offered throughout flu season, even into January or later.”
By making these easy-to-follow recommendations part of your daily routine, you can help prevent the spread of this year’s virus strains. Your family, friends, and co-workers will thank you!