Flu season runs from October to May. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has sent out 116 million doses of this year’s flu vaccine. Unlike year’s past, the CDC says these shots will be quadrivalent. That means they’ll handle up to four different flu strains.
The CDC says the most “popular” flu viruses but we have trouble finding anything about the flu to be “popular.”
Past vaccines have only handled two or three strains. So the idea behind this vaccine is to give people a flu shot that is much more effective. And the advice of the CDC? Get one.
And whether you get a flu shot or not, the CDC is also urging you to take steps to avoid the flu. The most effective is washing your hands. Hopefully others will do the same.
You’re also encouraged to find ways to boost your immune system. The Harvard Medical School’s publication Harvard Health Publishing lists these ways:
• Don't smoke
• Eat a diet high in fruits and vegetables
• Exercise regularly
• Maintain a healthy weight
• If you drink alcohol, drink only in moderation
• Get adequate sleep
• Minimize stress
• And take steps to avoid infection, such as washing your hands frequently and cooking meats thoroughly
If it is the flu it will run its course in 7 to 10 days. The question you have to ask if you have symptoms is, “Do I have the flu, or is it just a cold?” The Mission Heritage Medical Group’s Regina Chinsio-Kwong says it is hard to tell right away which is which since they have similar symptoms.
“Unfortunately, the differences are subtle at first,” she said. “But flu symptoms feel a bit more severe. You might have chills, a dry cough, a fever in the low 100s, and feel extra fatigued.”
Aching muscles, headaches and fever are common for the flu and not for colds. And a dose of the flu comes upon you much faster than the slower cold symptoms.
No matter what you have — Chinsio-Kwong said — you need to take steps to help your body fight. “Citrus fruits and apples provides vitamins A and C and antioxidants,” she said. “With a cold or flu, a big immune fight is going on inside your body, so you need to arm your troops — eating right helps.”
She also recommends soothing teas to help the immune system. Garlic does that, too. There are also medications on the market. But the best thing you can do is avoid contact with infected people.
Source: Providence — link 1, link 2, Harvard Health Publishing