National Influenza Vaccination Week

National Influenza Vaccination Week

National Influenza Vaccination Week occurs at the beginning of every December, a time when flu season is quickening its progression. Doctors recommended that children and adults get vaccinated twice a year, starting as young as six months of age. They suggest two shots a year because the virus is continually changing, so researchers are trying year-round to keep up as multiple flu strains evolve. So from December 1st through December 7th, everyone should consider getting vaccinated.

Influenza - Why is it so Dangerous?

Influenza, or the flu, is a dangerous disease with the potential for an emergency medical situation. Every flu season is different, which is why it is so important that people make sure to update their vaccines annually. The flu is a viral respiratory illness that is very common and spreads quickly, especially during the colder months. The severity of the disease ranges from mild to life-threatening, although death from the flu is not very common. Influenza attacks target the lungs, throat, and nose. The virus causes symptoms such as chills, muscle aches, headaches, fever, fatigue, congested and runny nose, and cough. While the flu has symptoms similar to those of the common cold, one good indicator of the flu is a sudden fever. In most cases, rest and plenty of fluids are all that is needed to treat the flu. Over the counter, anti-inflammatory medications may also help. In more extreme cases, doctors may prescribe antiviral medications.

Why You Should Get 2019 Flu Vaccine

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated that from October of 2018 up to May of this year, there have been between 37 million and 43 million cases of influenza. About half of these cases required medical visits. The CDC also reports with a 90 percent certainty that the flu is currently at its peak, which means now is a critical time to consider getting vaccinated. The flu vaccine is the best way to prevent getting the flu. Once inoculated, the vaccine takes up to two weeks to take effect. While it is still possible to contract the flu after getting vaccinated, the chances are slim, and it would likely be a milder case of the flu.

Types of Influenza

There are four types of influenza virus, types A, B, C, and D. Types A and B are the two types that cause seasonal flu. Each type has various strains. The strains of each type can change quickly, so a vaccine can be less effective as the virus evolves.This year, B strains of influenza seem to be more prominent within the United States.
  • Type A. Type A influenza is the strain which infects birds and certain mammals. The virus can then be transmitted to humans.  Type A influenza is the type of infection that is responsible for widespread flu epidemics such as swine flu and avian flu. Both types A and B are constantly changing. However, type A influenza is known to mutate at a higher rate. Type A also differs from type B in that it is categorized in different strains and subtypes, based on the kind of proteins found on the surface of the virus.
  • Type B. Like with type A, type B influenza is responsible for seasonal flu epidemics. However, type B only accounts for about 25% of seasonal flu, and these infections typically occur during the end of the flu season. The main difference between types A and B is who is affected. Type A influenza can be contracted from both animals and humans, but type B only transfers from human to human. Both A and B types are highly contagious, and both exhibit similar symptoms. While type A influenza is classified into several subtypes, type B influenza breaks down into only two different lineages.
  • Types C and D. Vaccinations do not prevent people from getting types C and D influenza. Fortunately, the type D influenza virus is only found in cattle and is not known to affect people. Type C influenza is very rare, and symptoms are usually mild. While there is no way to prevent the two types, C and D flu viruses can be treated similarly to infections from A and B types.

The Importance of Influenza Vaccinations

Getting vaccinated is vital because it dramatically reduces the risk of becoming infected. Furthermore, it also prevents the virus from spreading to someone else, especially to those who have not had a vaccine. So, to honor Influenza Vaccination Week this year, take the time to get vaccinated. It is not only a way to stay healthy, it is also a public service that helps to contain a potential epidemic.

The Emergency Center is here for you if you or your family gets the flu. Never second guess, because the flu can worsen quickly. The Emergency Center provides up to 23 hours of Observation and offers 24/7 care with NO WAITING. Visit one of The Emergency Center’s convenient 24-hour locations in ArlingtonFort Worth, and San Antonio.