What to Know About the 2019-2020 Flu Season

The flu virus tends to spread between October and May, although it’s not unusual to hear of people coming down with the flu earlier or later than that. That’s why it’s important to get your flu shot as early as possible each year. The sooner you are protected, the less likely you are to become seriously ill. Talk to your local pharmacist about getting the flu shot today. Severity of the Flu Season The 2018-2019 flu season was categorized as moderately severe and it was the longest-lasting flu season in recent memory in the U.S. It’s thought that the 2019-2020 flu season could be more severe than last year’s. That’s because the dominant strain circulating this season is H3N2. This particular strain is more likely to result in severe flu symptoms that require hospitalization, compared to the milder H1N1 strain. The last flu season in which H3N2 was the dominant strain was 2017-2018. During that season, more than 80,000 people in the U.S. died from the flu. Although anyone could potentially be at risk of severe complications or death from the flu, people with underlying health problems, the elderly, and young children are at a higher risk. Timing of Vaccination The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that adults get vaccinated starting in September. Vaccinating as early as July or August may result in the reduced effectiveness of the vaccine at the tail end of the flu season. Children ages six months through eight years may need two doses of the flu vaccine. It’s recommended that this age group receive the first dose as soon as possible in the early fall, as the second one must be administered at least four weeks later. Types of Vaccines This season, individuals can receive a standard dose flu shot, which is administered into a muscle. High-dose shots are available for people aged 65 and older. People with egg allergies can receive vaccines made with viral matter grown in cell culture, rather than in eggs. In addition, the nasal spray vaccine is now being offered again. You can receive your annual flu shot at the Lyon Corner Drug & Soda Fountain. Their friendly pharmacists are always happy to answer questions about your medications or vaccines. No appointment is needed, but you can reach an associate at (970) 879-1114 for more information.

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