Flu Season Typically Starts in October
On average, between 5 and 20 percent of the US population will get the flu and close to 200,000 Americans will be hospitalized each year due to complications of the illness. While it is not possible to predict what the flu season will be like this year, we do know that we see an annual spread of the virus. Of course, the timing, length and severity of the virus varies from year to year.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, “the Unites States experiences epidemics of seasonal flu each year.” Influenza activity is most common during the fall and winter months with the start of the flu season typically starting in October and November and cases can be seen as late as May. Locally, our flu season peaks between December and March.
We are encouraging everyone to take the flu seriously and to take steps to remain healthy this season. Getting vaccinated is the first and best way to protect yourself and your family. The recommendation is for everyone over the age of 6 months get vaccinated. Vaccinations are especially important for people at high risk for complications from the flu. People at higher risk include infants, pregnant women, people with chronic health conditions like asthma, diabetes, or heart disease, and people 65 and older.
Most people who contract the flu do not require medical attention and should stay home from work, school, social events and public gatherings until they feel better. The CDC recommends staying home for at least 24 hours once a fever is gone without the use of a fever reducing medication. Typical symptoms of the flu can include fever, cough, runny nose, head and body aches and fatigue. Some people may experience vomiting and diarrhea.
Occasionally, with the flu, complications arise that require medical attention. If a patient is experiencing a shortness of breath, the inability to keep fluids down because of nausea, persistent shaking chills, symptoms lasting more than 10 days, pain or pressure in the chest, convulsions, fast breathing, bluish tint to skin, or other worrisome symptom, seek medical advice right away. If particularly severe, go to the nearest emergency department.