IDPH: Get a Flu Shot ASAP; Don't Use The Nasal Spray Vaccine

IDPH: Get a Flu Shot ASAP; Don’t Use The Nasal Spray Vaccine

The Illinois Department of Public Health says to get a flu shot ASAP — and don’t use the nasal spray vaccine.

The IDPH recommends everyone 6 months and older be vaccinated. Because of concerns about how well the nasal spray vaccine worked during the past two flu seasons, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices is recommending people avoid the nasal spray for the 2017-18 flu season.

The flu season typically begins in October and peaks between December and March.

“We recommend people get a flu shot by the end of October, if possible. It takes about two weeks after vaccination for the body’s immune response to fully respond and for you to be protected,” said IDPH Director Nirav D. Shah, M.D., J.D. “Therefore, it’s better to be vaccinated before flu viruses start circulating.”

The flu is a contagious respiratory illness that can cause mild to severe illness. Serious cases of flu can result in hospitalization or death.

Kane County Flu

In Kane County last year (2016-2017), influenza activity in Kane County peaked in Week 7 (Feb. 12-18), a week after the national level peaked. The predominant strain during this peak was Influenza A.

Kane County saw three influenza outbreaks in long-term care facilities and 36 ICU admissions for influenza-like illnesses during the 2016-2017 influenza season.

As you can see from last year’s report, schools in Kane County were hardest hit during Week 8 of 2017. But take a look at the orange line in the graphic below, and you’ll see the numbers exploded around Week 42 — early October. That’s one reason to get your flu shots early.

Getting a flu shot can reduce flu illnesses, doctors’ visits, and missed work and school due to flu, as well as prevent flu-related hospitalizations. The more people who get vaccinated, the more people will be protected from flu, especially those who may not be able to be vaccinated, such as babies under 6 months.

Anyone can get the flu, even healthy people, the IDPH says. Getting a flu shot is the first and most important step in protecting you and those around you against flu viruses.

Flu Symptoms and Prevention

Flu symptoms can include fever or feverish/chills, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headache, tiredness, and some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults.

Flu is typically spread by droplets when someone with the flu talks, coughs, or sneezes. People can also get the flu by touching something, like a door handle, that has the virus on it and then touching their mouth, eyes, or nose.

On average, it’s about two days after being exposed to the flu before symptoms begin. However, you can pass the flu to someone roughly a day before you start experiencing those symptoms, and up to 5 to 7 days after becoming sick.

In addition to getting a flu shot, IDPH recommends following the 3 C’s: clean, cover, and contain.

  • Clean – frequently wash your hands with soap and warm water.
  • Cover – cover your cough and sneeze.
  • Contain – contain your germs by staying home if you are sick.

Influenza antiviral drugs can be a second line of defense for treatment of some who get sick with the flu. Many observational studies have found that in addition to lessening the duration and severity of symptoms, antiviral drugs can prevent flu complications. Because it is important to start antiviral medication quickly, high-risk patients should contact a health care professional at the first signs of influenza symptoms, which include sudden onset of fever, aches, chills, and tiredness.

To find a location to get a flu shot in your community, check with your health care provider or local health department. You can also use the online Vaccine Finder.

SOURCE: Illinois Department of Public Health news release