The flu is here — and so is a new advisory from the CDC

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It looks as if we hear the identical factor each flu season — it’s going to be dangerous this 12 months. In actual fact, completely different years convey completely different strains of flu, and the numbers of circumstances, issues, hospitalizations, and deaths associated to the flu differ from 12 months to 12 months.

So, what’s the deal this 12 months?

The CDC has simply issued an advisory. Listed below are the highlights:

Flu season is heating up. The variety of circumstances is rising and the predominant pressure — A(H3N2) — is one which in previous years has prompted extra hospital admissions and deaths than different strains, particularly amongst older adults and younger youngsters.

The flu vaccine will not be very efficient. Estimates are that it’s about 32% efficient, whereas final 12 months it was 39% efficient and most years it’s 40% to 60% efficient. Nonetheless, vaccination is extremely advisable. Some safety is healthier than none, and the flu could also be much less extreme in individuals who have been vaccinated.

Antiviral drugs can shorten the course of the flu and cut back its severity. These drugs embody:

  • oral oseltamivir (generic or as Tamiflu)
  • inhaled zanamivir (Relenza)
  • intravenous peramivir (Rapivab).

The antiviral drugs work finest when began inside two days of the onset of signs; even after two days, these drugs could be useful.

When flu is strongly suspected, remedy with antiviral drugs shouldn’t be delayed whereas ready for the outcomes of flu assessments. That is very true for these most definitely to endure issues of the flu such because the aged, chronically ailing, and younger youngsters.

Antiviral drugs — like antibiotics however completely different

You probably have by no means heard of antiviral medication, you aren’t alone. Antivirals are therapies for viral infections simply as antibiotics (reminiscent of penicillin or erythromycin) are for bacterial infections. You will not be conversant in them as a result of there aren’t practically as many antiviral medication as antibiotics, and most viral infections go away on their very own. However for sure critical viral infections — HIV and hepatitis C are good examples — extremely efficient antiviral medication have revolutionized care, prevented struggling, and saved numerous lives. For influenza infections, antiviral drugs generally is a massive assist as properly.

What’s the plan?

Relating to the flu, there’s loads you are able to do to cut back your danger (and the chance to these round you). Listed below are some measures to take now:

  • Get vaccinated. The record of causes to keep away from vaccination is brief (reminiscent of having a extreme response to the vaccine up to now); and no, the usual injected flu vaccine can’t trigger you to get the flu.
  • Let your physician know immediately you probably have signs suggestive of the flu throughout flu season. The earlier you’re examined and handled, the higher. The most typical signs are:
    • fever and chills
    • sore throat
    • cough and runny nostril or congestion
    • fatigue and achiness throughout
    • headache
  • Keep residence. You probably have flulike signs, keep away from contact with others. If meaning lacking work, your boss must be grateful you aren’t exposing your coworkers.
  • Wash your palms usually and canopy your mouth and nostril when coughing or sneezing. If you’re caring for somebody who has the flu, remind them to take these precautions.

In conclusion…

Perhaps this 12 months’s flu season will likely be milder than anticipated. However I wouldn’t depend on it. I’ve had the flu and it’s not nice. Do what you’ll be able to to reduce your danger. It’s well worth the effort.

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