Influenza (Flu) Vaccinations Ramp Up as the 2022-23 Flu Season Begins
Bloomington…. The arrival of cooler weather often signals the start of flu season in the United States. Although the influenza (flu) virus is active all year long, flu activity typically peaks between December and February when people are spending more time indoors where prolonged, close contact provides the perfect environment for the virus to spread.
The flu can cause mild to severe illness and, at times, lead to death. Flu symptoms usually come on suddenly. Symptoms of the flu include:
- • fever (or feeling feverish/chills)
- • cough
- • sore throat
- • runny or stuffy nose
- • muscle or body aches
- • headaches
- • fatigue (tiredness)
- • some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults
Anyone can get the flu, and serious problems related to flu can happen at any age. However, some people are at high risk of developing serious flu-related complications if they get sick. This includes people 65 years and older, people of any age with certain chronic medical conditions (such as asthma, diabetes, or heart disease), pregnant women, and children younger than 5 years.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) – during the 2019-20 flu season – flu infections in the U.S. led to 18 million medical visits, 410 thousand hospitalizations, and 24-thousand deaths.
“One important thing we can all do to help prevent the flu is to get a flu vaccine each year,” said Jessica McKnight, Administrator of McLean County Health Department MCHD).
The flu vaccine has been shown to reduce flu-related illnesses and the risk of serious flu complications that can result in hospitalization or even death. The CDC recommends that everyone 6 months and older should get a flu vaccine.
Seasonal flu vaccines are designed to protect against the influenza viruses that worldwide research indicates will be most common during the upcoming season. The U.S. often looks to countries in the Southern Hemisphere to help us predict the severity of our upcoming flu season as the Southern Hemisphere's winter happens during our summer. This year the flu returned to some countries, such as Australia, where the respiratory infection started ramping up months earlier than expected, and reportedly caused one of the worst flu seasons in recent years.
In addition to getting a flu shot each year, the CDC also recommends everyday preventive actions (like staying away from people who are sick, covering coughs and sneezes, and frequent handwashing) to help slow the spread of germs that cause respiratory (nose, throat, and lungs) illnesses, like flu.
MCHD offers flu vaccines by appointment and accepts most private and government-funded health insurance plans as well as a $30 self-pay option for those who are uninsured. For more information, visit https://health.mcleancountyil.gov/143/Flu-ShotsInfluenza
To learn more about the different types of flu vaccines, visit https://www.cdc.gov/flu/prevent/different-flu-vaccines.htm
To find other flu vaccine locations, visit https://www.vaccines.gov/find-vaccines/