by Ken Allup
November 5, 2022
Oskaloosa, Iowa – Flu season has arrived in Iowa and it’s hitting hard.
The CDC reports: “While the timing and severity of the upcoming flu season cannot be predicted, the United States has experienced little flu in the past two seasons. Reduced population immunity, particularly among young children who may never have been exposed to the flu or have never been vaccinated, could lead to a strong return of the flu. The CDC is particularly concerned about drops in flu vaccine coverage in the past two years among groups most at risk, including children and pregnant people. ILI visits at this time are highest among children ages 0-4, followed by people ages 5-24. Influenza activity often increases first in children and then spreads to older age groups.”
Oskaloosa News reached out to Mahaska Health for advice on the upcoming flu season and the flu shot to help you combat the annual scourge.
We asked the experts at Mahaska Health the following questions:
• Q: How serious is the flu? …
Influenza (flu) can be associated with serious illness, hospitalization, and death, particularly among older adults, very young children, pregnant people, and people of all ages with certain chronic medical conditions.
- Q: How do I know if I have the flu or COVID-19? …
Viral infections from the common cold, influenza (flu), and/or SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) viruses cause similar signs and symptoms. The only definitive way to know which virus is making someone sick is through testing. The onset of flu-like symptoms is abrupt, with fever or a feeling of fever or chills for 3-4 days, body aches, tiredness, chest discomfort and cough, and headache.
- Q: What complications can the flu cause? ..
Sinus and ear infections are examples of mild complications of influenza, while pneumonia is a serious complication of influenza that can result from influenza virus infection alone or influenza virus co-infection. flu and bacteria. Other possible serious complications from the flu can include inflammation of the heart, brain, or muscle tissues and multi-organ failure (for example, respiratory and kidney failure). The flu can also make chronic medical problems worse.
- Q: Last year, I got sick from the injection. …
The viruses in a flu shot are killed (inactivated), so you can’t get the flu from a flu shot. Some minor side effects that may occur are pain, redness, and/or swelling where the injection was given, fever, muscle aches, headache (low-grade), nausea, and fatigue. These minor side effects are expected and are part of the immune system developing antibodies to protect against the influenza virus. Antibodies that provide protection develop in the body about 2 weeks after vaccination.
- Q: Tell me why I should get this vaccine again. …
Influenza is a potentially serious illness that can lead to hospitalization and sometimes even death. Every flu season is different, and the flu can affect people differently, but during typical flu seasons, millions of people get the flu each year, hundreds of thousands of people are hospitalized, and thousands to tens of thousands of people die from flu-related causes. The flu can mean a few days of feeling sick and missing work, school, or family events, or it can result in more serious illness. An annual seasonal flu shot is the best way to help reduce your risk of getting the flu and any of its potentially serious complications. Vaccination has been shown to have many benefits, including reducing the risk of flu illnesses, hospitalizations, and even the risk of flu-related death.
- Q: Is there anyone who should not get a flu shot?
Everyone 6 months of age and older should be vaccinated against influenza (flu) every season, with rare exceptions. Different flu vaccines are approved for different age groups. Some people (for example, pregnant people and people with some chronic health conditions) should not get some types of flu vaccines, and some people should not get any flu vaccine (although this is rare). People who should not get a flu shot include children younger than 6 months and people with severe, life-threatening allergies to any ingredient in a flu shot (other than egg proteins). People who had a severe allergic reaction to a dose of influenza vaccine should not receive that influenza vaccine again and may be able to receive other influenza vaccines.