In the U.S., influenza is widespread over eighty percent of the country.  There are three particular strains that are circulating – the  H3N2, is the dominant one this year, and can cause a more serious illness.  Because vaccines were given for both A and B strains of influenza, the third strain doesn’t respond to those shots.  

Some persons became infected before receiving the vaccination, or shortly after the vaccination.  The flu shot takes time to become effective.  Doctors state that even if you get a strain not included in the flu shot, the vaccination should reduce the severity of the illness.  The flu is spreading earlier and faster this year. 

Anyone who is at least 6 months old should get a flu vaccine this season.  Those to whom it is especially important to receive the vaccine are:

  1. People with certain medical conditions, including asthma, diabetes, and chronic lung disease.
  2. Pregnant women.
  3. Persons 65 years and older.
  4. People who live with or care for others who are at risk of developing serious       complications such as asthma, diabetes, and chronic lung disease. 

Flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by viruses infecting the nose, throat and lungs.  Some cases are mild to severe; however, the flu can be lethal.  Symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, tiredness, chills, head and body aches, runny nose, and occasionally diarrhea and vomiting.  Some people with these symptoms, however, may not have the flu.  Many are being treated for bronchitis or severe allergies. 

The flu is spread through contact with bodily discharges.  When someone infected sneezes or coughs around them, chances are they will also become infected.  Things that we touch, such as elevator buttons, phones, keyboards, salt shakers, and other items in public places make us all susceptible to it. 

If you are ill, cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze.  Wash your hands very often, and keep hand sanitizer handy.  Use disinfectant sprays in the home to kill germs.

Last, but not least, stay home if you are sick.  Do not be in a rush to return to school or work until you have been fever-free for at least 24 hours.  During seasons that bring contagious diseases, it’s not a bad idea to stay home and away from crowds as much as possible.  Some folks may be coming down with something, yet are unaware of it until they actually get sick. 

Stay well, my friends!