Southern Hills Hospital & Medical Center
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2017 Flu Season May Be Worst on Record

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?
The 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 circulate.

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.

Our 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.