Influenza (flu) season has begun, prompting the Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention (CDC) to recommend most folks head to the doctor for their
flu vaccine as early as September. Three weeks before flu season was set
to start on September 30,
two women in Delaware, one 50 years old from Sussex County, and one 70 years old from New Castle
County, were already diagnosed with the flu.
The CDC says the flu vaccination has been updated this year “to better match
circulating viruses.” Those 6 months or older should receive the
shot. It takes two weeks for the flu shot to become effective after receiving
the shot, so make an appointment with your primary care physician as early
as possible, by October at the latest. However, you should be fine getting
the flu shot later as well, since the virus still circulates as late as
January and February. You should also wash your hands and stay away from
If you think you have the flu, stay home from work or school. Make an appointment
with your Saint Francis family doctor as soon as possible. Antiviral drugs
may help reduce the severity of your symptoms within the first two days
of your illness, but they won’t cure you. Symptoms of the flu come
on rapidly and include cough, sore throat, fever, muscle and body aches.
CDC also urges the importance of flu vaccinations for those at high risk
of flu-related complications. Those at highest risk include children younger
than five years old, adults older than 65, pregnant women, including up
to two weeks postpartum, residents of nursing homes and long-term care
facilities and those with
certain medical conditions such as diabetes, asthma or heart disease.
Each year, between 9.2 million and 35.6 million people get sick from flu
viruses in the U.S. An estimated 180 children died in the U.S. from flu
in the 2017-2018 flu season. Adult deaths from flu are not recorded because
many adults aren’t tested for flu, but the CDC estimates around
56,000 adults died from flu during the 2012-2013 flu season.
Mark your calendar to see your family practitioner for a flu shot sooner
rather than later to avoid getting sick and spreading flu to others. If
you need a doctor, you can search for one