1. What type of flu season are we expecting?
According to the CDC flu seasons can vary in their timing, severity, and duration from one season to another. They go on to say comparing this flu season to the last three years It looks like this flu season is starting little later and while there have been reports of deaths due to flu this season the overall season is milder.
2. How many people get the flu?
According to the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index on any given day, a baseline of between about 1% and 4% of the adult population reports being sick with flu in America. The CDC reports during flu season between 5 – 20% of the U.S. population comes down with the flu each year.
3. What is the difference between a cold and the flu?
Experts agree it's important for you to know the difference between flu and cold symptoms. If it’s a cold your symptoms will most likely experience a sore throat, runny nose, congestion and cough. Fever is uncommon in adults, for children fever is common. If it’s the flu your symptoms may include sore throat, fever, headache, muscle aches, soreness, congestion, sometime nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.
According to WebMD while cold symptoms can make you feel bad for a few days, flu symptoms can make you feel quite ill for a few days to weeks. The flu can also result in serious health problems such as pneumonia and hospitalizations.
4. How is the flu spread?
The main way respiratory viruses are spread are from person to person in respiratory droplets of coughs and sneezes. That's why the health department recommends cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze. Since most people touch their face many times during the day, the recommendations also include washing your hands several times a day with soap and water. These measures are believed to shorten your symptoms and prevent the spread of the flu to others.
5. Does the flu vaccine work for everyone?
According to the CDC in a statement made June 2016 how well the flu vaccine works (or its ability to prevent flu illness) can range widely from season to season and can be affected by a number of factors, including characteristics of the person being vaccinated, the similarity between vaccine viruses and circulating viruses, and even which vaccine is used.
6. Is it OK to use the new flu nasal spray?
CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) in June 2016 voted that live attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV), also known as the “nasal spray” flu vaccine, should not be used during the 2016-2017 flu season.Say NO to the flu nasal spray this year.
7. Should I get a flu shot?
Maybe. There continues to be a debate whether flu shots are a good idea. Depending on who you ask will determine the answer you receive. As with every concern about YOUR body, YOU are the ultimate decision maker.
- The Center for Disease Control says YES. To read more click here
- GlaxoSmithKline Pharmaceuticals says YES. To read more click here
- Dr. Marcola, alternative medicine says NO. To read more click here
- Topics in Integrative Care say NO. To read more click here
There continues to be a controversy as to whether Influenza Immunization (flu shot) is a good idea. However, there is no confusion flu is a health threat. Not long ago "old people and babies" by the thousands died every year during the flu season October - March.
8. Where can I get a flu shot?
9. How can I protect myself from the flu?
Everyone agrees with or without the flu vaccine you must take action to protect yourself from the flu. You do this by protecting and improving your immune system. After all the ultimate responsibility for your health is yours.
What you can do to PREVENT the FLU Harvard Medical School suggests to adopt healthy living strategies.
Every part of your body, including your immune system, functions better when protected from environmental assaults and bolstered by healthy-living strategies such as these:
- Eat a diet high in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and low in saturated fat.
- If eating the recommendation of 9 - 13 fruits and vegetables are too much for you we recommend checking out the One Simple Change program.
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- Control your blood pressure.
- If you drink alcohol, drink only in moderation.
- Get adequate sleep.
- Take steps to avoid infection, such as washing your hands frequently and cooking meats thoroughly.
- Get regular medical screening tests for people in your age group and risk category.
Your partner in health,
Cindy Cohen RN, BS BA
Certified Health Coach