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Flu Facts For The 2017-2018 Flu Season


What is influenza (flu)?

The flu is a highly contagious respiratory disease that is spread through coughs and sneezes.  Symptoms typically include fever, aches, chills, tiredness, headache, cough, chest discomfort and sometimes stuffy nose, sneezing and sore throat.  It usually lasts about a week or two, but symptoms may persist for two weeks or more.  Flu-related complications include pneumonia and dehydration.  Millions of people are infected, hundreds of thousands are hospitalized and thousands die from flu each year. 

Who needs to get a flu vaccination?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends a yearly flu vaccine for everyone 6 months of age and older.  Our clients usually invite adults 18 years and older to participate in their flu shot clinics.

Do healthy people need to get a flu shot?

Yes.  The flu is highly contagious.  The CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine for everyone 6 months of age and older.  People who get the flu become carriers.  Many healthy people get the vaccine to help ensure they don’t contract the flu and spread the disease to more vulnerable people (young and elderly).  Our clients usually invite adults 18 years and older to participate in their flu shot clinics. 

When is the flu season in the U.S.?

It can start as early as October and last into May, with January and February being especially bad.  However, flu viruses are detected year-round, including at lower levels during the summer months.

How severe will the flu be and how long will it last?

Flu spreads every year and there is no way to predict when, how severe or how long it will last.  Up to 20% of U.S. residents get the flu each year.  The flu results in more than 200,000 hospitalizations and thousands of deaths each year.

What is the best protection against the flu?

The flu vaccine is your best protection against the flu, per the CDC.  Thoroughly washing your hands and under your fingernails for 20 seconds also helps protect you. 

When is the best time to get vaccinated?

The best time to get vaccinated is when the vaccine becomes available, preferably by October, but it is never too late to get a flu shot.

What flu virus will occur during the 2017-2018 season?

Three types of flu viruses typically circulate among people:  Influenza A (H1N1) viruses, influenza A (H3N2) viruses and influenza B viruses. 

Flu Facts

Will the 2017-2018 flu vaccine keep people from getting sick from the flu?

Flu vaccination can keep people from getting sick from the flu and protects the people around you.  Age and health also impact the effectiveness of the flu vaccine.  People who get the flu vaccine will typically have milder symptoms if they get sick.  Flu vaccination reduces the risk of more serious flu outcomes, like hospitalizations and deaths. 

Should pregnant women get the flu vaccination?

Yes.  The vaccination helps protect women during pregnancy and their babies for up to six months after they are born.  One study showed that giving flu vaccine to pregnant women was 92% effective in preventing hospitalization of infants for flu.  Some states regulate the type of vaccine received by pregnant women.  It is important for pregnant women to consult with their physicians and request the type of vaccine they’ll need in advance  (e.g.  thimerosal free, no multi dose, etc.).

I got a flu shot last year. Do I need one this year?

Yes.  The CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine for everyone 6 months of age and older

What influenza vaccines will be available through Midland Health in 2017-2018?

  1. Intramuscular (IM) Vaccine: Trivalent and quadrivalent formulations.
  2. Nasal Spray Vaccine: Quadrivalent Intradermal Vaccine:  Quadrivalent
  3. Thimerosal free (upon request).

For more information, go to: https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/season/flu-season-2017-2018.htm 

Flu facts obtained from: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC.gov), US Department of Health & Human Services (flu.gov) and National Foundation for Infectious Diseases (NFID.org)