Flu season remains underway. According to the California Department of Public Health, there have been more than 70 deaths since September, and hospitalizations for flu are above expected levels.
Flu B viruses are predominating in California, but A (H1)pdm09 viruses are also circulating.
Even if your family has stayed safe, it’s not too late to take extra precautions.
An annual seasonal flu vaccine is the best way to help protect against flu by reducing the risk of flu illnesses, hospitalizations and even the risk of flu-related death in children.
During seasons when the flu vaccine viruses are similar to circulating flu viruses, flu vaccine has been shown to reduce the risk of having to go to the doctor with flu by 40 percent to 60 percent.
Flu vaccination can reduce the risk of flu-associated hospitalization for children, working age adults and older adults and can prevent thousands of hospitalizations each year.
According to the CDC, flu vaccines cause antibodies to develop in the body about two weeks after vaccination. These antibodies provide protection against infection with the viruses that are used to make the vaccine.
The seasonal flu vaccine protects against the influenza viruses that research indicates will be most common during the upcoming season. Most flu vaccines in the United States protect against four different flu viruses; an influenza A (H1N1) virus, an influenza A (H3N2) virus, and two influenza B viruses.
The CDC recommends use of any licensed, age-appropriate influenza vaccine during the 2019-2020 influenza season and urges everyone 6 months of age and older to get a flu vaccine every season with rare exception.
Ideally, people should get a flu vaccine by the end of October, however getting vaccinated later can still be beneficial.
Flu vaccines are offered in many doctor’s offices, clinics, health departments, pharmacies and college health centers, as well as by many employers, and even in some schools.