What should I do to prepare for the flu season?
CDC recommends that everyone 6 months and older get a flu vaccine each year. It is especially important for some people to get vaccinated. Those people include the following:
*People who are at high risk of developing serious complications like pneumonia if they get sick with the flu:
This includes: People who have certain medical conditions including asthma, diabetes, and chronic lung disease; pregnant women; people 656 years and older
*People who live with or care for others who are high risk of developing serious complications: This includes household contacts and caregivers of people with certain medical conditions including asthma, diabetes, and chronic lung disease.
When should I get the vaccinated?
CDC recommends that people get vaccinated against influenza as soon as 2012-2013 flu season vaccine becomes available in their community. Influenza seasons are unpredictable, and can begin as early as October.
It takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body and provide protection against the flu.
What sort of flu season is expected this year?
Flu seasons are unpredictable in a number of ways. Although epidemics of flu happen every year, the timing, severity, and length of the epidemic depends on many factors, including what influenza viruses are spreading, whether they match the viruses in the vaccine, and how many people get the vaccine.
Symptoms of Influenza
Influenza (also known as the flu) is a contagious respiratory illness caused by flu viruses. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. The flu is different from a cold. The flu usually comes on suddenly. People who have the flu often feel some or all of these:
Fever* or feeling feverish/chills, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches, fatigue (tiredness), vomiting and diarrhea (more common in children) *It is important to note that not everyone with flu will have a fever.
How to protect yourself from the flu
Get vaccinated; wash your hands often with soap and water or use alcohol-based hand rubs; avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth (germs spread this way); try to avoid close contact with sick people
For more information please see http://www.cdc.gov/flu/index.htm