The flu season is in full swing! Right now, flu is at high levels across the United States. However, in Maryland, while the flu is widespread, the intensity is low, meaning a lower number of visits to providers are for influenza-like illness. The H3N2 virus is causing a lot of flu cases this year, and this strain of flu is associated with more severe illness.
Check the Maryland Department of Health’s FluWatch page for the latest flu data in Maryland.
Check the CDC’s FluView page for flu data from across the United States.
To prevent the flu:
Get your flu shot. It’s not too late! Everyone 6 months and over should get the flu shot every year.
Click here for our 2017-18 Flu Vaccine Resource Sheet to find out where you can get a flu shot in the Carroll County area.
Flu vaccine effectiveness (VE) can change from year to year. How well the vaccine works depends in part on the match between the vaccine and the active viruses that season. A flu shot provides some protection even when it is not a close match to current viruses.
The vaccine used in Australia in their recent flu season was only about 10% effective against the H3N2 virus, but the vaccine seems to be a better match to viruses in the U.S.
Prevent the spread of germs.
Wash your hands often with soap and water. Try not to touch your eyes, nose, and mouth, because germs spread easily that way.
Clean and disinfect things that may be contaminated with germs, like doorknobs and cell phones.
Avoid people who are sick. If you are caring for someone who is sick, take extra steps to prevent germs from spreading.
Click here to learn more about how to stop the spread of flu germs.
If you get the flu:
You may have the flu if you have some or all of these symptoms:
- fever (not everyone with flu gets a fever)
- sore throat
- runny or stuffy nose
- body aches
- sometimes diarrhea and vomiting
Limit contact with others as much as possible. Remember to cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Get rest and drink plenty of fluids. Stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone (without the use of medication to reduce fever).
Most people with the flu have mild illness and do not need medical care or antiviral drugs. But if you have symptoms of flu and are in a high risk group, or are very sick or worried about your illness, contact your health care provider. They may prescribe antiviral drugs. Antivirals are different from antibiotics. They can make illness milder and shorten the time you are sick. They also can prevent serious flu complications, like pneumonia. Not everyone with the flu needs antivirals, so talk to your health care provider.
Pneumococcal pneumonia is an example of a serious flu-related complication that can cause death. People who are 65 years of age and older should also be up to date with pneumococcal vaccination to protect against pneumonia and related infections. Talk to your doctor to find out which pneumococcal vaccines are recommended for you.
Community Flu Vaccination Planning Committee
The organizations listed below are working together to provide consistent flu-related messaging and access to flu vaccinations, to increase vaccination rates and protect our community from the flu.