2018-2019 Flu Season: Everything You Need to Know
It’s that time of the year again. Offices, schools and early childcare facilities are on high alert for this year’s flu. Doctors’ offices are stalked with flu vaccinations and emergency rooms are anxiously awaiting arrivals. This happens every year and we try our best to prepare and stay healthy. However, it’s impossible to predict how this flu season will affect you. The key to staying healthy is to stay informed. Here is everything that you need to know about this year’s flu season.
Let’s Back Track a Little Bit
Last year’s flu season was one for the history books. It was considered to be the worst flu epidemic in 40 years. Thousands of people died from the flu and even more had to be hospitalized. Therefore, many people are worried because of the effects last year’s flu season had on their families and friends. Thankfully, this flu season is supposed to be milder than last season.
A regular flu season lasts from fall until the end of winter. Sometimes a flu season ends in late May. Typically, the flu starts to effect more people in October and November. Then, the flu virus hits its peak between December and February. The intensity of a flu epidemic varies each season. Sometime the flu is intense and other times the flu is mild. Since last year’s flu season was powerful, this year’s should be milder. This isn’t always the case, but it’s a pattern. Since it’s only the beginning of the flu season, it’s too soon to be certain about specifics. If we know about the intensity of the flu season, then it’s too late to warn people.
How You Can Tell If You Have the Flu
The common symptoms of the flu are a fever, coughing, a sore throat, and muscle aches. If this is the case, then some rest and liquids should help. More extreme symptoms are the inability to eat, dizziness, difficulty breathing, etc. If this is the case, then you should go to the hospital immediately. Like a cold, the flu is common. However, it can be more dangerous than a cold, especially if you have severe symptoms.
The number one way you can prevent yourself from getting the flu is a flu shot. You may be concerned because the flu shot didn’t help people last year. The flu vaccination from last season wasn’t a good match for the strand of flu. A vaccination has to match the strand of flu in order for it to be effective. This year’s vaccine has been updated to be a better match for the strands of flu that are expected. An interesting fact is that flu vaccinations cover 3 to 4 strands of the virus. Last year’s vaccination covered 3 strands. However, this year’s vaccine covers 4 strands. This increases the chances that the vaccine will match the strand of flu going around. Get your flu vaccination as soon as possible because it takes 2 weeks for your body to be ready to fight the flu.
Other Ways to Stay Healthy
First, you should stay away from others who are sick and wash your hands frequently. Basically, do anything you can to avoid other people’s germs. Next, if you feel that you might be ill, then take a day off. Powering through a sickness isn’t worth other people getting sick. Lastly, stay informed about the flu. There are multiple websites that give you weekly reports about the flu and how strong it is.
Has It Hit the United States?
The simple answer is no. Some hospitals have seen patients that have the flu. However, there aren’t enough cases to say that there is a flu outbreak. Sadly, the first flu-caused death occurred this week in another country. In less developed countries, getting the flu is more dangerous than in developed countries. Regardless, stay alert and try and stay healthy. It’s early in the season and a lot can happen during a few months.
In conclusion, the flu has been around for a long time and there’s no way to destroy it. This flu season is expected to be milder than last year’s flu season. Also, this year’s vaccination is likely to be more effective than last year’s. The best thing you can do for yourself is to get a flu vaccination and stay informed. Overall, it’s best to prepare yourself. We can only beat the flu when we prevent the flu.