Find out how to prepare for Flu Season 2016.
Annually, the flu impacts more and more people each year. There are various causes of this, including our dependence on our cell phones, which harbor far more germs than we’d like to believe. The key to beating the flu in 2016 is to get a 2016 flu vaccine.
The more people get vaccinated, the more people of all kinds will be protected. It is increasingly important for the elderly, infants, pregnant women, and people with certain health conditions to get the flu vaccine in 2016.
New This Year
There are a few new trends this year for the flu. The first is that the injectable flu shots are going to be the primary administration method this year as they have been found to be the most effective for this particular virus. This year, the flu is expected to move quickly throughout the population, something that it hasn't done for the last few years.
The vaccine has been updated to better match the viruses that are circulating. There are a few new options on the market this season, including a change for those who have egg allergies.
Keep a look out: there could also be a cold vaccine coming soon.
What is the Recommended Flu Vaccine for 2016?
In 2016, only injectable flu vaccines should be used. Some injectables will protect against three flu viruses while others will protect against four. Options this year include:
- Standard dose flu shots given into the muscle;
- High-dose flu shot for elderly;
- Adjuvant shot for older people;
- Shot made with the virus grown in cell culture;
What Viruses Does 2016-2017 Flu Vaccine Protect Against?
Each year, there are many flu viruses around and they are constantly changing and shifting. Each year, the composition is reviewed annually and update to match what is going around. For the 2016 flue season, three component vaccines will contain:
- A/California/7/2009 (H1N1)pdm09-like virus,
- A/Hong Kong/4801/2014 (H3N2)-like virus and a
- B/Brisbane/60/2008-like virus (B/Victoria lineage).
The four component vaccines will have the same three viruses above plus another B virus called B/Phuket/3073/2013-like virus (B/Yamagata lineage).
Should I Get a Flu Vaccine?
Everyone over 6 months of age should get a flu shot by the end of October. If you miss that deadline, it is still okay as flu season continues into February. In rare cases, some children should get two doses, but that is a case by case scenario to be discussed with your doctor.
In fact, this year the CDC is urging Americans to get a flu shot because it has a chance to be severe.
Dr. William Schaffner, a medical director of the National Foundation for Infection Diseases, urges people over the age of 65 to get the shot, as they are the ones most likely to end up in the hospital. In fact, of the 1 million people to be hospitalized for the flu, 75% of them were 65 or older.
What Will the Flu Season Be Like in 2016?
Unfortunately, it is unpredictable. The flu will spread this year, like it always has, but the timing, length, and severity varies.
This year, the flu season officially started in the last week of September, a late start for the virus. Still, it is said that the flu in 2016 will be extremely strong and has a chance of becoming an epidemic.
As we get further into the season, we will have more information.
Will the United States Have a Flu Epidemic?
Every year, there is a flu epidemic during the seasonal flu time. Do not let this word scare you. The flu will peak between December and March, though it can last as late as May.
For the most current influenza surveillance information, please see FluView at Weekly U.S. Influenza Surveillance Report.
According to the website Flu Near You, the East Coast is predictably filled with flu cases, and the area along the West Coast is also having more than usual. The middle of the country is surprisingly healthy this year, though the map does show that cases are popping up. So far New Jersey has had the most cases and the most severe cases.
How Can I Protect Myself From the Flu?
The CDC recommends the flu vaccine as the best way to prevent the serious disease.
In addition, your lifestyle choices can help you as well. Stay away from people who are sick, wash your hands before you eat, and do not touch your face as often. Studies have also shown that getting more sleep and sanitizing your cell phone and computer will help.
Most importantly, make sure that you stay home from work or school if you are sick. Try to stay away from other people, particularly the elderly and children.
Another great option to protect yourself from the flu is to download the FluView app. This app is from the CDC and it shows you where the flu is and how strong it is.
Where Can I Get a Flu Vaccine in 2016?
Flu vaccines are offered many places, including at your PCP, clinics, health departments, college campuses, and pharmacies. Some employers and public schools will offer clinics as well.
Visit the HealthMap Vaccine Finder to locate where you can get a flu vaccine.
How Can I Treat the Flu in 2016?
One of the best ways to treat the flu this year will be by using TempTraq, a new wearable that will test your temperature. It is much easier than the traditional thermometer because it doesn't require you to move around as much, nor do you have to wake up sleeping children. The thin patch goes under your arm and monitors your temperature, sending the information to an app on your phone.
When your child or someone you are taking care of has the flu, you will have to be diligent in testing his or her temperature, and this could be a huge help.