It’s The Worst Flu Season In Years – Protect Your Family
Chances are you know by now that this year's flu season is one of the worst we have seen in years. According to the Centers for Disease Control, all states (except for Hawaii) are continuing to report widespread flu activity. In some parts of the country, the flu has reached epidemic proportions. What's more, this year's strain of the flu is making those infected particularly sick. Here's what you need to know.
- If you or your children have not yet received the flu vaccine, it's not too late. The CDC expects flu activity to continue for several more weeks at least.
- The flu vaccine is recommended for everyone six months and up, as long as no other medical conditions indicate the vaccine should not be administered.
- The flu vaccine is generally safe for pregnant women.
- You may have heard that this year's vaccine isn't effective. While it's true that this year's vaccine is only 30% effective at preventing the flu, studies have shown that the severity and duration of the flu is less in those who have been vaccinated even if they become infected.
- This flu season is proving to be more deadly than in past years, especially for children. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald stated that of the 30 U.S. children who have died from the flu so far this season, approximately 85 percent likely will not have been vaccinated.
Practice Good Hygiene
- You've probably heard it before, but practicing good hygiene is key to flu prevention.
- Be sure to wash hands regularly, especially before eating. If frequent hand washing is not possible, use hand sanitizer.
- Don't be shy about giving gentle reminders to others about the importance of hand washing and covering noses and mouths with the crook of their elbow when sneezing or coughing. Young children may need frequent reminding.
- If you see someone who is sick, do your best to avoid them.
- If your child has been around someone who is sick, wash their clothes, be sure to wash their hands, and wipe down any surfaces that may be harboring flu germs.
What to Do if You Have the Flu
- If you or your child is sick, stay home to help stop the spread of the flu. Although the CDC recommends that everyone get vaccinated there are many people who cannot be, such as infants, individuals the compromised immune systems, those undergoing treatment for cancer, and others.
- Keep in mind that even with a bad flu season, the illness will still be mild for most of those infected. However, if you are concerned or are in a group at high risk for complications contact your doctor. The CDC considers pregnant women and children under 5 high risk, with those under 2 at particularly high risk.