With the official arrival of fall, officials are warning area residents to begin preparations for flu season, which is fast approaching.
Flu season kicks off in earnest in October each year, though patients can still be susceptible to certain strains in September, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The CDC said that reported cases tend to increase in November before peaking between December and February. Flu season typically lasts through the middle of the spring.
In advance of the heart of flu season, the CDC has recommended that anyone older than 6 months should receive a vaccination.
The CDC estimates that flu has resulted in between 9.2 million and 35.6 million illnesses each year in the United States and several deaths. Of those illnesses, an estimated 9 percent were hospitalized.
“It takes approximately two weeks following the vaccination for the antibodies to protect against flu to develop in the body, so make plans to get vaccinated early in fall, before flu season begins.
CDC recommends that people get a flu vaccine by the end of October. Getting vaccinated later, however, can still be beneficial and vaccination should continue to be offered throughout flu season, even into January or later.”
According to the CDC, the flu infects the respiratory tract. “As the infection progresses, the body’s immune system responds to fight the virus.
This results in inflammation that can trigger respiratory symptoms such as cough and sore throat. The immune system response can also trigger fever and cause muscle or body aches.
When infected persons cough, sneeze, or talk, they can spread influenza viruses in respiratory droplets to people who are nearby. People might also get flu by touching a contaminated surface or object that has flu virus on it and then touching their own mouth or nose.”
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