Usually the incidence of flu is minimal with no significant outbreak. During this time of the year, however, certain factors increase the prevalence of flu. Learn about the season and how you can stay healthy!
When is the flu season?
The flu season usually starts from autumn, peaks during the winter season, and continues till spring. In the United States, the season begins in October and peaks during January and February. It usually ends by the end of April or early May. On average, the season lasts for about 13 weeks.
Factors affecting the spread of it
The main reason for the outbreak of flu during the winter season is because of the cold climate. During winter, the humidity level will be comparatively less. Because of this, the water droplets that allow viruses to survive remain in the air for a more extended period. When you breathe this air, the virus enters your body and makes you sick.
During the winter season, you tend to stay indoors for a long time. Moreover, all the doors and windows of the house or office will also be closed, thus providing a warm environment for the virus to survive. Because of this condition, if one person in the house or office is infected with flu, it can spread to other people very fast.
General health condition
If your general health condition is weak, then there is a greater tendency to contract flu. Thus, small children and older adults are more susceptible to catching the flu than are healthier adults.
How to prevent it from the onset
Adopt healthy habits
The flu spreads quickly, so healthy habits help control its spread. Washing your hands with soap and water every time you come home helps to control the flu to a great extent. When you are out, try to use sanitizer to keep your hands clean. Whenever you cough or sneeze, close your nose and mouth with a tissue paper so that you do not spread the virus. Also, try to avoid close contact with sick people.
Boost your immune system
The best way to boost your immune system is to have a balanced meal and stay fit. Make sure that the food item you consume provides you with all the essential nutrients like carbohydrates, protein, vitamins, minerals, and calcium.
Exercising regularly also goes a long way in improving your health. Try to sleep for at least 8 hours a day, and relax by indulging in activities that make you happy.
If you are a smoker, then flu symptoms can have a magnifying effect on you. Thus, quitting smoking helps in controlling the impact of flu.
Different types of flu shots available
When administered, flu shots develop antibodies almost two weeks after the shots are given. These antibodies help fight the flu virus inside the body.
Trivalent flu vaccine
Trivalent flu vaccines protect against two A strains of the virus (H1N1 and H3N2) and one B strain of the virus. There are three types of trivalent flu vaccines.
There is the standard dose, which can be given to any person above five years of age a high-dose vaccine called Fluzone, which can be given to any person above the age of 65. Fluzone contains four times the antigen contained in a standard dose. There is also a flu vaccine with an ingredient called adjuvant, which provides better immunity to the body.
Quadrivalent flu vaccine
This vaccine covers two A strains of the virus as well as two B strains of the virus. Thus, it protects against four strains of viruses. Just like the trivalent vaccine, the quadrivalent vaccine also comes in three types.
One type is the standard dose, which is given for people above five years of age. A variant of this vaccine is also available for children as young as six months
There is a cell-based flu shot called Flucelvax, which is given to children above four years. There is also a recombinant quadrivalent flu vaccine, which is given for people above 18 years.
When should the shots be administered?
As previously mentioned, once the flu shots are administered, it will take at least two weeks for the antibodies to develop inside the body. Thus, it is advisable to take the shots at least two weeks before the flu season starts.
You should get the vaccine by the end of October. Even if you have missed the crucial period, you can still receive the vaccine. Children require two doses of the vaccine to get complete protection. Thus, for children, the shots should be given by early October.
Where can you get it?
Flu vaccines are given in the doctor’s clinic, health centers, and hospitals. It is even given in some schools and colleges for better protection. Some employers also encourage the employees to get the vaccine to prevent the spread.
For more information
Take measures that help you maintain quality health. For more information about getting a flu shot, contact ARcare at (866) 550-4719 to speak with a healthcare professional.