Flu Upswing | Vaccine Nearly 60% Effective
Flu is on the upswing across the US and this year’s vaccine is nearly 60% effective–which is good. According to the CDC, flu started later this year in mid-January and “is still on the upswing and expected to continue for several weeks.” According to the Maryland Department of Health, the most recent report shows flu to have widespread activity of moderate intensity.
The flu vaccine is reported to be 59% effective this year so far, according to the CDC. “This means that getting a flu vaccine this season reduced the risk of having to go to the doctor because of flu by nearly 60 percent,” said Joseph Bresee, M.D., chief of CDC’s Epidemiology and Prevention Branch. “It’s good news and underscores the importance and the benefit of both annual and ongoing vaccination efforts this season.”
Read more to know the symptoms and when to go/call/see your doctor. Remember that treatment must be started within 48 hours of first symptoms.
Symptoms of Flu
WebMD has a nice Flu Guide as well as a summary of the symptoms of influenza (flu). Note that symptoms start suddenly and often include:
- Fever of 100.4°F to 104°F, which can reach 106°F (41°C)
- Body aches and pain
- Pain when you move your eyes.
- Fatigue, a general feeling of sickness
- Loss of appetite.
- A dry cough, runny nose, and dry or sore throat.
Influenza usually does not cause symptoms in the stomach or intestines, such as vomiting and diarrhea.
Call your doctor or go to an Urgent Care if:
- You have an extremely high fever (104 F or higher)
- You are finding it more difficult to get a good breath
- New symptoms localized to the ear, throat, chest or sinuses
- Symptoms don’t go away or become more severe
Be sure to be seen within 48 hours of the onset of your fever. This is important as treatment is only effective if started within 48 hours!
Call 911 if:
- Trouble breathing
- Severe headache or stiff neck associated with confusion or excessive drowsiness
How Serious is Flu?
According to the CDC, flu seasons are unpredictable and can be severe. Anywhere from 3,000 to 49,000 people die each year from the flu.
People with flu are contagious beginning 1 day before symptoms develop and up to 5 to 7 days after becoming sick.
If you or someone in your family has sudden onset of high fever, whole body aches, chills and feels generally awful, see your provider right away. A rapid Flu Test is available to get an answer in 10 minutes. And remember that Tamiflu, the only treatment, must be started within 2 days of symptom onset.