By now the flu season is well underway and hopefully you are lucky enough to have avoided it, so far. The flu season traditionally begins to pick up in October and peaks between December and March. However, this year the flu season started early in Alaska and it’s been a rough one for many Alaskans and unfortunately it shows no signs of slowing down.
Protect Yourself and Your Community
The best way to protect yourself and the people around you is by getting the flu shot ever year. The more people that get the vaccination, the more people are protected against the flu and there’s less chance for it to spread. Young children, pregnant women and the elderly are especially susceptible to getting the flu, which can be deadly in some cases. Even though the flu season is already underway, it is important to get a flu shot as soon as possible if you haven’t yet, especially if you are in a high-risk category.
Unfortunately, the flu vaccine isn’t always 100 percent effective because there are various strains of the flu, so there are other things you need to do to keep yourself safe. Washing your hands is one of the easiest ways to avoid getting sick. If you are traveling at all during the holiday season, be sure to carry hand sanitizer, Lysol wipes and facial tissues. Avoid people who exhibit symptoms of the fl
u – runny nose, fever, coughing, sneezing – and if you are sick with these symptoms, stay home. The flu is usually passed through coughing and sneezing, so be sure to cover your mouth and nose.
What’s New This Flu Season?
Experts believe the U.S. may be in for a tough flu season because Australia just went through its worst flu season in 10 years. According to Australia’s National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System, there were two and a half times more confirmed cases of the flu this year than in previous years.
While the U.S. Centers for Disease Control is encouraging all eligible individuals to get vaccinated against the flu, this year the recommendation is not to use the nasal spray flu vaccine (LAIV), only injectable flu shots are recommended this year. There are a variety of flu shot options available this year including standard dose flu shots, high-dose shots for older people, shots made with adjuvant for the elderly and more. To look at a table for all the potential flu vaccines click here.