According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), flu activity has increased sharply with most of the U.S. reporting widespread activity, similar to the flu season in 2014-2015, which was the most severe season in recent years. This year’s active strain, H3N2, is highly contagious.
Despite early reports that the flu vaccine may have reduced effectiveness, the CDC still recommends vaccination. If you have not been vaccinated yet this season, get vaccinated now. Most flu vaccine manufacturers have stated they have enough supply to meet anticipated demand for the current flu season. As demand increases, you may want to call your pharmacy in advance to see if flu vaccine is in stock.
How you can prevent the flu
- Everyone 6 months & older should receive an annual flu vaccine
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick
- Wash your hands often with soap and warm water — if soap and water are not available, use alcohol-based sanitizer
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
- Clean disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs like the flu
Signs and symptoms of the flu
- Fever or chills (not everyone with the flu gets a fever)
- Sore throat
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Muscle or body aches
What to do if you get the flu
- Stay home and avoid close contact with others until you have been without a fever for at least 24 hours (without fever-reducing medicine)
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue or your sleeve when you cough or sneeze
- If you are very sick or at high risk of serious flu complications, ask your doctor about antiviral drugs as soon as possible – these medications are most effective if taken within 48 hours of getting sick, although they can still provide benefits if started later
- The CDC does not recommend that you go to the emergency room when mildly ill. See the CDC treatment recommendations here.