Although it is never possible for experts to predict exactly what flu season
will look like in any given year, the numbers so far indicate that the
2017 season may be the worst one on record. The number of people seeking
emergency care for flu symptoms is high, which means it is more important than ever to
get a flu shot.
What exactly is flu season?
flu virus circulates throughout the year, but flu season is the period of time in
which the U.S. experiences epidemic levels of flu infections. Typically,
the peak period of flu season is between December and March, but it can
start in October and may continue until May. It’s not possible to
predict exactly when flu season will begin, because it depends on so many
different factors, from the weather to the types of flu viruses that are
circulating. Getting your flu vaccination early in the usual flu season
is the best way to ensure you are protected when the viruses begin to
What flu shots are available this year?
For the 2016-2017 flu season, the vaccine is only available via injection.
The nasal mist is not considered to be effective. The vaccine for this
season protects against the viruses H1N1, H3N2, B/Yamagata lineage, and
B/Victoria lineage. Experts believe that these strains of the virus will
be most prevalent. Keep in mind that the flu virus may change and adapt
over the course of the season, so although getting a flu shot drastically
reduces your risk, you aren’t completely protected from contracting the flu.
What should I do if I think I have the flu?
Your physician can perform a flu test to make a definitive diagnosis.
For most patients, simply waiting for the virus to pass is the best treatment.
If you have a chronic medical condition that could be made worse by the
flu, your doctor may prescribe an antiviral medication to reduce the severity
of the infection. If you experience symptoms such as chest pain or breathing
difficulties, seek emergency care immediately.
physicians and emergency care providers at Southern Hills Hospital & Medical
Center are ready to help your family get through flu season, whether you
need a flu shot or ER care for a crisis. You can find out more about our
hospital services by calling (702) 880-2700.