addition to changing leaves, the arrival of fall usually
signifies the beginning of flu season.
serious and potentially deadly virus, influenza causes fever,
coughing and muscle aches. It also can lead to other
complications, such as pneumonia, bronchitis and potentially
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates
that approximately 49,000 flu-related deaths occur annually.
Internal medicine specialist Dr. Vandana Bhide, who treats
many hospitalized flu patients at Mayo Clinic’s campus in
Jacksonville, Fla., offers advice and information on this year’s
flu strains, available vaccines and tips to avoid getting the
INFORMATION ON THE FLU
2016-2017 flu season, there have been several updates,
including a recommendation by the CDC against the FluMist.
vaccines are injectable. There is a needleless system option
for those with a fear of needles.
year’s flu strains include H1N1 A and a new subtype known as
H3N2. There’s also a new B strain called Brisbane.
quadravalent vaccine is available, which has two influenza A
strains and two influenza B strains.
There are options available for people with egg allergies that
are made in cell cultures or are completely synthetic.
year, there is a vaccination option for everyone," says
OF THE VACCINE
encourages everyone to consider a flu vaccine, particularly
those at high risk for complications — individuals over 65,
pregnant women, children 6 months to 2 years old and
individuals who are immunocompromised.
people who get the flu will have a fever, experience muscle
aches and feel the need to stay home from work or school for a
few days. Certain people can develop serious
complications," says Bhide. "The vaccine can help
avoid these issues."
the unpredictability of the flu season, which is typically
from October to March, there is no specific date by which you
should get your vaccine. The only advice is that the vaccine
should be administered as early as possible to be able to take
effect before exposure to the virus.
vaccine is the best defense against the flu and serious
flu-related conditions, and, because it’s difficult to
predict how and when the flu will strike, I recommend getting
it as early as you possibly can," says Bhide.
offers these tips for staving off the flu and other illnesses,
regardless of the season:
your hands thoroughly and frequently with water and soap, or
alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
particularly important before leaving the bathroom, eating or
touching your face.
Avoid others who are sick, and stay home from work or school
if you are ill.
recommends visiting the doctor if you are part of the
high-risk group for flu or around someone who is at risk.
your vaccines up to date.
from the seasonal flu shot, the most important vaccines, she
says, include measles, mumps and rubella and the combined Tdap,
which covers tetanus, diphtheria and acellular pertussis
(whooping cough)."In general, vaccines are not going to
prevent you from getting the flu by themselves; the best way
to avoid getting sick with the flu is by combining healthy
living practices with an up-to-date vaccine," says Bhide.
that it’s important to see your doctor immediately when you
begin experiencing flu symptoms. A prescription medication is
available for some patients who have had flu symptoms for less
than 48 hours.