From the coronavirus to the bush-fires in Australia, 2020 has not gotten off to a good start.
An overview of this year’s flu strain
This flu season has been particularly dangerous with multiple deaths even in very young children. Moreover, the virus is mutating (as usual) and making its way back around, so patients have experienced the flu twice this season already.
The CDC is recommending shots as usual for the flu virus and there are a few changes to the season such as 3 strains of the virus that are all related to the lineage of B viruses which is another type of influenza that is categorized as H3N2.
The Food and Drug Administration has allowed changes to the dosing for those wishing to have an influenza vaccination. Children aged 6 through 35 months can now receive either 0.25 ml or 0.5 ml per dose.
What can I do to protect myself against the flu?
There is nothing new that you need to do this year. You should focus on hand-washing and proper hygiene, as usual, and if you are working in a healthcare industry job, then you should wear a mask at all times, especially when around patients exhibiting flu-like symptoms.
If you are concerned that you may get the flu, then it would be proactive to take a flu shot. If you cannot take a flu shot, then try to limit your exposure to others who may have the virus.
As always, you should encourage elderly family members, friends or those who have chronic health conditions to take a flu vaccine to protect themselves.
If you find that you do develop flu-like symptoms, then it is important to stay home if you can and avoid close contact with others.
I am worried about the coronavirus, what if I have that, and not the flu?
The coronavirus is a type of pneumonia. If you feel that you are exhibiting the symptoms of the coronavirus, or have been in close contact with someone who has had the coronavirus (or has been in contact with someone who they suspected had the coronavirus) then you should visit a doctor for testing. If you go to the doctor, you should call ahead and give the doctor’s office warning that you suspect you have the virus so they can limit your exposure to other patients.
What is the outlook of the flu virus this season?
It is important to note that the flu season is technically referred to as the flu epidemic season as the United States experiences higher levels of influenza during the flu season, which is in the colder months of the year. In terms of the outlook, the flu activity is set to remain elevated until the end of February at this stage.
There is no way to guarantee with 100% certainty that you will never get the flu, however with proper hygiene and other safety measures, you can reduce your chances of getting the flu this season.