Listen to Deputy Health Officer Henry Taylor, M.D., talk about flu vaccinations and the upcoming flu season on Carroll Hospital’s Health Chat on WTTR.
The 2017-18 flu season was severe, with 172 pediatric deaths in the United States, a record number in a non-pandemic year. About 80% of these deaths occurred in children who did not get the flu shot this season. Read more here.
Health officials are preparing now for the 2018-19 flu season:
- CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine for everyone 6 months and older.
- For 2018-2019, nasal spray vaccine is again an option for flu vaccination. However, it will not be available at in-school clinics. We will post information about local availability as soon as possible.
- CDC’s 2018-19 Flu Season FAQs
To prevent the flu:
Get your flu shot. Everyone 6 months and over should get the flu shot every year. For best protection through the flu season, the Carroll County Flu Vaccination Planning Committee recommends getting your flu vaccination in October, based on local data. If waiting isn’t possible, the CDC recommends getting the vaccine as soon as it is available.*
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. This includes local flu vaccination clinics and pharmacies. Note: The resource sheet will be updated in late summer, 2018 as flu vaccine availability information is available.
The flu shot does not cause the flu. Flu vaccines are made from an inactivated virus that can’t make you sick. Some people feel a little achy and have a low-grade fever after getting vaccinated, but that is just a sign that your body’s immune system is working.
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.
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. Keep their bedclothes, dishes, cups, and eating utensils separate. Wash your hands after caring for them or cleaning any of their items.
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. 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. Antivirals work best when they are started within two days of getting sick. Not everyone with the flu needs antivirals, so talk to your health care provider.
If you have the flu and experience any of these symptoms, you should go to the emergency room:
- Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
- Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
- Sudden dizziness
- Severe or persistent vomiting
- Flu-like symptoms that improve but then return with fever and worse cough
For more information and symptoms in infants and children, visit The Flu: What to Do if You Get Sick
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.
*The Carroll County Community Flu Vaccination Planning Committee recommends getting the flu vaccination in October, based on recent local influenza data. However, the CDC recommends getting vaccinated as soon as the flu vaccine is available, to maximize the likelihood of vaccination. For more information on flu vaccination timing:Prevention and Control of Seasonal Influenza with Vaccines: Recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices—United States, 2018–19 Influenza Season “Timing of Vaccination.”
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.