What’s new with the flu
Autumn is here, which means flu season is back. Kathryn Adkins, MD, answered common questions about the flu and shared some important reminders.
Why should I be concerned about the flu?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 3%–11% of the population (which is millions of people) will have flu symptoms. Most recover in about a week, but some people – even children – will require hospitalization for complications such as pneumonia.
Anyone can experience serious problems related to the flu, but the risk increases if you:
- Are over age 65
- Have a chronic condition such as asthma, diabetes or heart disease
- Are pregnant
- Are younger than 5 years
Getting an annual flu shot lowers your risk of getting sick, and if you do get sick, it can reduce the severity of illness and the duration of symptoms.
Can you get the flu from the flu shot?
No. The vaccine is inactivated which means it does not have a live virus and there is no way to get the flu. Some people may be a little achy afterwards, but that shows your immune system is building up the response to protect you from the flu.
What if I have symptoms of the flu?
Because the symptoms for flu and other viruses (such as COVID-19) are so similar, it’s important to consider being tested. Your primary care provider can help guide you in this care.
Also, remember to stay home to avoid spreading the virus to others. People with the flu are most contagious in the first 3–4 days after symptoms develop. They can continue to infect others up to 5–7 days, and some people, especially young children or those with weakened immune systems, can infect others even longer.
Should I take medicine for the flu?
You can use Tylenol or ibuprofen to reduce fever. There’s also an antiviral medication called Tamiflu and a couple of others that may be appropriate. Contact your primary care provider or use a virtual care option for next steps.
Fight the flu
Get your flu shot and learn more about what you can do to protect yourself and others.Learn More About Getting a Flu Shot