- Commonly referred to as the Flu.
- Respiratory tract infection caused by one of the influenza viruses.
3 Different Influenza Viruses:
- Type A (most common)
- Type B (usually associated with milder symptoms)
- Type C
- Each type also has different subgroups or strains, so each year the influenza virus is slightly different and can infect people several times during their lifetime.
- Usually strikes between December and early April.
- Epidemics usually peak in January and February.
- Best way to prevent influenza is by getting a Flu shot every October or November.
- Flu shots are about 80% effective in preventing influenza.
- Very few people have side effects.
- About 1% to 2% have mild influenza-like symptoms in the 1st 24 hours after getting the vaccine.
- Contrary to popular myth, you CANNOT get influenza from a Flu shot.
CDC recommends the Flu shot for the following people:
- All persons age 65 or older
- Household members (including children) of persons in high-risk groups (such as health care workers & employees of hospitals, medical offices, nursing homes, and chronic care facilities)
- Children and adults who have chronic diseases of the heart, lungs, kidneys, diabetes, or any condition that weaken the immune system
- Children and teens who are receiving long-term treatment with aspirin because they are at a higher risk for Reye's syndrome
- Women who will be past the 1st trimester of pregnancy during the Flu season
- Flu shots will begin to provide its protective effect 1 or 2 weeks after receiving the injection.
- Immunity decreases usually after several months.
- Flu shots will not protect all persons against influenza.
- Flu shots will not protect against other illnesses that resemble influenza.
- Dosage: only 1 Flu shot is needed each year for everyone 12 years and older.
Possible Side Effects:
- most people have no side effects
- Flu shots can be given by injection or nasal mist
- injections are usually given in the muscle of the upper arm often causing fever and aches for 1-2 days
- allergic response, more serious reactions, or even death can occur from the Flu shot
- people with an allergy to eggs should not get the Flu shot
- people with a history of Guillain-Barre syndrome should not get the Flu shot
- women who are or might be pregnant should discuss the risks with their doctor
- Flu shots should be delayed for illnesses with fever