Reno, Nev. (October 24, 2016) – Flu season has officially begun, which means it’s time for people to protect themselves and those around them, if they haven’t already. Typically, flu season begins in early October and may peak as early as November or as late as May of the next calendar year.
While some think flu is akin to a “bad cold,” it’s something altogether different — and far more serious.
Flu symptoms include:
- A fever of 100 degrees or higher
- A cough and/or sore throat
- A runny or stuffy nose
- Headaches and/or body aches
“This is not just a bad cold or headache,” said Immunize Nevada Executive Director Heidi Parker. “Flu can — and does — kill.”
To emphasize the gravity of flu, it’s important to keep a few facts and figures in mind (from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and www.flu.gov):
- More than 200,000 Americans are hospitalized and thousands die every year from the influenza virus.
- Flu causes 38 million lost school days and 111 million lost workdays a year, resulting in more than $7 billion in lost wages.
- About 20,000 children under 5 are hospitalized each year from the flu.
- During the 2015-2016 flu season, 85 pediatric deaths were reported across the United States.
Flu vaccination is the best chance at not getting the flu, and Parker says that Nevada has many options for no-cost flu vaccinations. Additionally, Immunize Nevada has a convenient interactive widget on its website, www.influencenevada.org; the “Flu Vaccine Finder” allows Nevadans to input their zip code, generating a list of locations nearby offering flu vaccine.
According to the CDC, people should be vaccinated against the flu as soon as possible after vaccine becomes available — ideally by October. “Seasonal flu vaccines are your best protection against getting flu,” Parker said. “
Everyone 6 months and older should get a flu vaccine every year. The flu vaccine can literally save your life or the life of someone you love and it takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop and provide protection.”
According to the CDC, a few things are new this flu season:
- Only injectable flu shots are recommended.
- Flu vaccines have been updated to better match circulating viruses.
- There will be some new vaccines on the market this season.
- The recommendations for vaccination of people with egg allergies have changed.
For people who do contract the flu, the CDC recommends they stay home for at least 24 hours after their fever is gone except to get medical care or other necessities. For those who are pregnant, seniors or are immune-compromised, it might be advisable to seek medical attention.
For details about flu vaccine, statistics, logic, flu prevention strategies and vaccination clinics, follow Immunize Nevada on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and Pinterest. Or visit www.influencenevada.org for more information.
Immunize Nevada is widely recognized as Nevada’s trusted resource for immunizations and community health for all ages by fostering education and statewide collaboration. Immunize Nevada’s vision is healthy communities across Nevada protected from vaccine-preventable disease. For more information, visit ImmunizeNevada.org.