Some of you may have seen our E-blast letting everyone know that we are now seeing some of our first cases of influenza at Forest View. According to flu reporting from the Center for Disease Control (CDC), this looks to be one of the earliest flu seasons in about a decade. Last year was a very mild flu season, but this year looks to be significantly worse.
Quick review: Influenza is NOT the stomach flu. It is a respiratory illness that can cause very high and prolonged fevers, cough, and runny nose. It is especially dangerous because it can make you more susceptible to secondary bacterial pneumonias that can require hospitalization, or in severe cases, even cause death. This early into the flu season, there have already been 5 pediatric deaths, and during the H1N1 flu season a few years ago, there were 281 flu associated pediatric deaths. It is one of the most deadly common viruses around, especially for those who are unvaccinated. There are certain high risk groups (although it is recommended that everyone get vaccinated) which include anyone 6 months to 4 years old, anyone with asthma, diabetes, or another chronic medical condition, or anyone who spends frequent time around either of these groups and infants under 6 months.
Fortunately, in the samples the CDC has tested, the vaccine appears to be about a 90% match so far, which is a pretty good match. The vaccine does not always match, as the vaccine components are a very well-educated guess every year as to what strains we will see in the US (over 100 labs reporting to the World Health Organization who makes the recommendation to our FDA annually). The flu season tends to peak around January and February typically, however, the vaccine can take up to two weeks to produce antibodies, so now is the time to come get it. About the only real group unable to get a vaccine, are those that have had a severe allergic reaction to the flu vaccine in the past. Patients with egg allergy (unless particularly severe) can still get the flu vaccine, so please call if you have questions about how to get it done safely.
We have vaccine available at Forest View, so please call and make your appointment to get vaccinated. If you have any questions, we’ll happily provide the answers. Please click here to see our flu information page.
Thanks and cover your cough!