The 2011 Flu Season Update

  • The 2010-2011 flu season is in its peak right now. Generally speaking, January and February are the height of flu season each year, though this can vary from location to location.

     

    Hopefully, you got your flu shot this year. Everyone aged 6 months or older who has asthma should get a yearly flu shot, as we are considered a high risk population. This means that if a person with asthma gets the flu, they are at much higher risk of complications than a person who doesn't have asthma would be.

     

    If you didn't get a shot yet, your local Walgreen's (or doctor's office) may still be offering them. It's a little late to be getting one, but assuming you're not exposed to the flu within the next week or so, you may still get some benefit from being vaccinated this year.

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    Let's take a look at this year's flu season. According to the latest update from the Center for Disease Control (CDC), there is widespread occurrence of the flu throughout most parts of the U.S. at this point. The only exceptions are the following areas, where flu is only regional or local in incidence:

    • Washington D.C.
    • Florida
    • Kentucky
    • New Jersey
    • Utah

    For some reason, Oregon has only sporadic outbreaks of the flu at present (looks like a great place to be!). Most of our island states and territories also have only sporadic outbreaks of the flu right now. Guam has no activity.

     

    If you haven't been immunized and do not plan to be, at least take these actions recommended by the CDC:

     

    • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing and then throw the tissue away. If you do not have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your elbow or shoulder, not your bare hands.
    • Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after coughing or sneezing.
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth (germs are spread that way).
    • Stay home when you are sick, except to get medical care.

    If you should get sick with the flu this year, call your doctor right away and ask if one of the antiviral drugs might be right for you. Those medicines can greatly lessen the severity of the flu, as long as you take them within the first 48 hours or so after flu symptoms begin.

     

    For more information about the flu, see http://www.flu.gov

Published On: March 01, 2011