3- Steps to Flu prevention
The CDC recommends three steps to Flu prevention.
- Get the flu vaccine
- Avoid close contact with sick people
- Wash your hands often- practice good hygiene.
Rebecca Rayman, ECDHD Executive Director reported that Type A is the strain of the flu that is most wide circulating both locally and across Nebraska. Typically flu season runs from October to May with peak months for activity in January and February. There is still time to get the flu shot.
ECDHD Immunization Clinic Hours*:
Tuesday: 8am-12pm Noon
Wednesday and Thursday: 1pm-7pm
*Walk ins are accepted
Commonly asked questions and answers from the CDC
Is this season’s vaccine a good match for circulating viruses?
Laboratory analysis of circulating flu viruses this season indicates that most of the H3N2 viruses are antigenically or genetically different than the H3N2 vaccine virus. This means it’s possible this season’s vaccine may not work as well against those viruses, but it should work well against the minority of circulating H3N2 viruses. CDC continues to urge influenza vaccination for anyone who has not yet gotten vaccinated because the vaccine can still offer important protection and help prevent serious flu complications.
Why doesn’t this season’s vaccine contain the right H3N2 virus?
Experts must pick which viruses to include in the vaccine many months in advance in order for vaccine to be produced and delivered on time. And flu viruses change constantly (called drift); they can change from one season to the next or they can even change within the course of one flu season. Because of these factors, there is always the possibility of a less than optimal match between circulating viruses and the viruses in the vaccine.
When the vaccine viruses for 2014-2015 were selected, A/Texas/50/2012 was the most common circulating influenza H3N2 virus, so it was chosen to be included in the vaccine. The drifted H3N2 viruses that are circulating this season were first detected during routine surveillance testing during late March 2014, after World Health Organization (WHO) recommendations for the vaccine composition for the Northern Hemisphere for the 2014-2015 season had been made (in mid-February). At that time, just a very small number of these viruses had been found among the thousands of specimens that had been collected and tested and there was no way to predict that they would circulate widely.
Can the vaccine provide protection even if the vaccine is not a “good” match?
Yes, antibodies made in response to vaccination with one flu virus can sometimes provide protection against different but related viruses. A less than ideal match may result in reduced vaccine effectiveness against the virus that is different from what is in the vaccine, but it can still provide some protection against influenza illness.
In addition, it’s important to remember that the flu vaccine contains three or four flu viruses (depending on the type of vaccine you receive) so that even when there is a less than ideal match or lower effectiveness against one virus, the vaccine may protect against the other viruses.
For these reasons, even during seasons when there is a less than ideal match, CDC continues to recommend flu vaccination for everyone 6 months and older. Vaccination is particularly important for people at high risk for serious flu complications, and their close contacts.
Can I get vaccinated and still get the flu?
Yes. It’s possible to get sick with the flu even if you have been vaccinated (although you won’t know for sure unless you get a flu test). This is possible for the following reasons:
- You may be exposed to a flu virus shortly before getting vaccinated or during the period that it takes the body to gain protection after getting vaccinated. This exposure may result in you becoming ill with flu before the vaccine begins to protect you. (About 2 weeks after vaccination, antibodies that provide protection develop in the body.)
- You may be exposed to a flu virus that is not included in the seasonal flu vaccine. There are many different flu viruses that circulate every year. The flu vaccine is made to protect against the three or four flu viruses that research suggests will be most common.
- Unfortunately, some people can become infected with a flu virus the flu vaccine is designed to protect against, despite getting vaccinated. Protection provided by flu vaccination can vary widely, based in part on health and age factors of the person getting vaccinated. In general, the flu vaccine works best among healthy younger adults and older children. Some older people and people with certain chronic illnesses may develop less immunity after vaccination. Flu vaccination is not a perfect tool, but it is the best way to protect against flu infection.