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Friday, December 1, 2017

Flu Season: The Peak is Here


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The peak of flu season begins in December and goes through February. It’s important to know that adults may be able to infect other people beginning one day before their symptoms develop, and up to five to seven days after becoming sick. Children may be able to pass the virus even longer than that. For adults and children, flu symptoms start one to four days after the virus enters the body.

What does this all mean? For one, you may be able to pass the flu virus to someone else before you know you are sick, as well as while you are sick. Also, some people can be infected with the flu virus but have no symptoms. During this time, those persons may still spread the virus to others.

Flu viruses are believed to be spread mainly by droplets from coughing, sneezing or talking, and less likely by touching a surface or object that has a flu virus on it and then touching one's mouth, nose or eyes.
 
What’s New for Flu

The CDC (Centers for Disease Control) has the following updates for the 2017-18 flu season:

  • The recommendation not to use the nasal spray flu vaccine LAIV was renewed for this season. Only injectable flu shots are recommended for use again this season's virus.
  • Flu vaccines have been updated to better match currently circulating viruses. (The Influenza A or H1N1 component was updated.)
  • Pregnant women may receive any licensed, recommended and age-appropriate flu vaccine.
  • A quadrivalent recombinant flu vaccine (Flublok Quadrivalent RIV) is newly available this season. (Last season, only trivalent recombinant flu vaccine was available.) A quadrivalent inactivated flu vaccine (Afluria Quadrivalent IIV) was licensed last season after the annual recommendations were published.
  • The age recommendation for Flulaval Quadrivalent has been changed from 3 years and older to 6 months and older to be consistent with FDA-approved labeling.
  • For the first time, a cell-grown H3N2 vaccine reference virus was used to produce the H3N2 component of the cell-based vaccine, Flucelvax. (The remaining Flucelvax vaccine components were manufactured using egg-grown reference viruses.)

For up-to-date information on this year's flu season, visit the CDC website's Influenza page. For a weekly map of the virus' progress around the U.S., click here.

The Medical Center has the most current flu vaccines that are appropriate for your age and health condition. Remember to wash your hands for more than 20 seconds with soap and water and, if that’s not feasible, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Make it a habit when touching door handles, shopping carts, etc., to sanitize your hands, especially before eating, drinking or touching your nose, eyes or mouth.


 

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