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The Flu is Here! Now what?

It's hard to escape the flu. Either you have it, someone you know has it or you're hearing about it on the news. Reports are filled with talk about state-wide outbreaks, flu related deaths and the fact that the flu shot may only be 10% effective. Here's what experts at The Iowa Clinic want you to know.


Here’s what experts at The Iowa Clinic want you to know. “It’s not too late to get a flu shot because the flu season can extend into the month of May. While the vaccination may not be effective against a specific strain this year, it still is protective against influenza viruses, which is extremely important,” says Christina Taylor, MD – Internal Medicine at The Iowa Clinic. “Those at higher risk include the elderly 65+, children under the age of 5, those that are pregnant, and people who have chronic disease such as asthma, COPD and diabetes. This year though there have been an increased number of serious cases in the 50-64 age range, so nobody is immune to this.”

Yearly flu vaccinations are still recommended. If people stop receiving the vaccination because they believe it’s not working, next year’s flu season could be worse, including many more deaths or complications with the flu. Bottom line, get your flu shot and get it next year too.

The flu shot is quick and easy. In addition to providing you protection, it can help protect those around you, especially people who are more vulnerable to serious flu illness. It's also important to note that the CDC is not recommending the flu mist this year, only the shot.

The Iowa Clinic offers same day next day appointments in Primary Care which includes Pediatrics, Family Medicine and Internal Medicine. Please call 515.875.9000 or schedule online. If you need to be seen immediately, Urgent Care is open seven days a week in Ankeny and West Des Moines.

Symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Sore Throat
  • Runny/Stuffy Nose
  • Muscle/Body Aches, which can be severe
  • Headache
  • Fatigue — that can last 2-3 weeks

Key Facts:

  • Flu season peaks in the U.S. between December and February, with the season stretching as long as late October to early May — according to the CDC.
  • All contiguous 49 states are reporting widespread flu activity. (CDC)
  • The most prevalent type of Flu found in lab cases this year are 83.6% influenza A and 16.4% influenza B (CDC)
  • This year is a particularly difficult year, as the major strain affecting people of all ages in lab confirmed cases is H3N2 — which is an especially nasty strain of the flu, and especially deadly in vulnerable age groups and those at increased risk of flu complications (CDC)
  • New England Journal of Medicine reports that the flu vaccine is only about 10% effective against the H3N2 strain of the flu. The flu vaccines this year do protect against other strains of the flu and is still highly recommended by the CDC
  • It takes about 2 weeks following flu vaccination for antibodies to develop to protect against the flu.

Flu Facts. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/flu
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