(RxWiki News) Take precautions today to avoid the flu this fall.
Did you know localized flu outbreaks can occur as early as October and last all the way until February or later? Here are some tips to remain flu-free this season.
What to Expect This Flu Season
The flu vaccine is available in two forms: a nasal spray and a vaccine that is injected into the muscle. Which form is best for you will depend on several factors, such as age and other medical conditions. Speak with your doctor to determine the best flu vaccine formulation for you and your loved ones.
The 2018-19 influenza vaccine will be offered as a quadrivalent recombinant vaccine. This means the vaccine can provide coverage for a total of four strains including those of influenza A and B.
How Does This Flu Season Differ from Last Season?
In past years, FluMist, a vaccine that is sprayed into the nose, was not an option due to reduced effectiveness against a specific strain. However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has reported that FluMist will be an option this flu season. FluMist is an option for women who are not pregnant and for people between the ages of 2 and 49.
Who Should Get the Flu Vaccine?
The CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine for everyone 6 months of age and older as soon as the vaccine becomes available.
Where Can I Get a Flu Vaccine?
Did you know you can get a flu vaccine at your local pharmacy? Next time you are in the store, whether you are picking up a prescription or grabbing some over-the-counter medications, stop by the counter and ask about the flu vaccine.
When Is the Best Time to Get the Flu Vaccine?
The flu vaccine typically becomes available by August every year. Flu activity usually peaks around December and February but can last as late as May. Given this timeline, the best time to get your flu vaccine is by October. This will help ensure proper time for your body to produce the necessary antibodies before the flu season hits in full. After receiving your flu vaccine, it will take your body about two weeks to develop protection against the virus.
Here are some other ways to protect yourself and your loved ones from the flu this season:
- Frequently wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
- Avoid close contact with those who are sick. If you are sick, limit contact with others to prevent infecting them.
- Remind friends, family members and coworkers to get vaccinated. Safety and prevention depends on herd immunity. Herd immunity helps communities prevent an outbreak by limiting the spread of the virus from person to person. By limiting the spread, a community can protect the individuals who have weakened immune systems (like infants, the elderly and patients with cancer, HIV/AIDS or type 1 diabetes).
Ask your local pharmacist how to stay safe this flu season.