What you need to know about 2018-19 flu season


Under blue skies and a blazing solar with temperatures getting up to 89 levels, the DeKalb County Board of Health arrange a drive-thru flu vaccination clinic Friday outdoors the Northlake Mall. From midday to 6 p.m., one automotive after one other pulled up to the clinic, with drivers and passengers vaccinated and on their approach in as little as 5 minutes.

Sure, it could nonetheless really feel like summer season. And fall might not technically start for one more couple of weeks, however that doesn’t imply it’s too early to start considering about the upcoming flu season. That’s very true after the extreme flu outbreak of 2017-18 that claimed the lives of 150 in Georgia, together with 5 youngsters.

Claudina Prince, a registered nurse with the DeKalb County Board of Health, prepares a flu shot for Tom Keating. HYOSUB SHIN / HSHIN@AJC.COM
(The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Tom Keating, 76, of Decatur was at a close-by assembly when he determined to benefit from the simple approach to get a flu shot outdoors Northlake Mall.

“I’m delighted the weather is good and the people are helpful,” mentioned Keating, who praised the county, which gives flu vaccines at its county health facilities, for establishing the drive-thru clinic. He by no means even wanted to get out of his automotive.

The pictures on the drive-thru had been handy however not essentially free. They value $35 for traditional vaccines, and $65 for high-dose vaccines for folks 65 and older. Most insurance policy, nonetheless, cowl flu pictures.

Ebonee Gresham (heart) and Claudina Prince, each registered nurses with the DeKalb County Board of Health, put together a flu shot for Tom Keating (left) of Decatur. HYOSUB SHIN / HSHIN@AJC.COM
(The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Experts say now is an effective time to get a flu shot. The Georgia Department of Public Health said it’s already getting experiences of flu circumstances across the state though there’s no specific pocket of outbreaks but.

Public health officers say that everybody 6 months of age or older ought to obtain a flu vaccine by the top of October — and it could be finest to get a flu shot even sooner than that because it takes about two weeks after getting the vaccine to develop antibodies towards the flu. Getting vaccinated earlier than flu season is in full swing gives one of the best safety, specialists say.

The vaccine has also been adjusted for the approaching flu season in hopes of targeting the strains that will likely circulate this year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and PreventionThe nasal spray flu vaccines have also been reformulated and are now, once again, recommended for the 2018-19 flu season. However, the nasal spray is just advisable for non-pregnant girls, and for folks ages 2-49.

Each yr, on common, 5 % to 20 % of the U.S. inhabitants will get the flu, tens of 1000’s are hospitalized and 1000’s die from flu-related sickness. This prices an estimated $10.4 billion a yr in direct medical bills and an extra $16.3 billion in misplaced earnings yearly, in accordance to the CDC.

Here, there have been record-breaking hospitalizations for the flu in metro Atlanta final flu season — greater than 3,000 hospitalizations. There had been additionally 150 deaths, together with 5 youngsters, in Georgia. One yr earlier, there was half that variety of hospitalizations in metro Atlanta and a complete of 9 flu-related deaths within the state.

MORE: A look back at last season’s nightmare flu season

It’s inconceivable to predict how unhealthy this yr’s flu season will probably be. Public health officers say flu viruses are continually altering, with Georgia Department of Public Health spokesperson Nancy Nydam saying, “the only predictable thing about the flu is that it is unpredictable.”

“It’s key that everyone understands our best protection is a seasonal flu vaccine, which are now available and can help mitigate the severity of this season,” mentioned Dr. Andi Shane, medical director of hospital epidemiology at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.

Even if you don’t get a flu shot by the top of October, specialists say it’s by no means too late to get one at any level throughout flu season.

The CDC mentioned it will probably’t predict whether or not this season’s vaccine will probably be a very good match for the circulating viruses, however specialists say even when a selected batch of flu vaccine gives less-than-ideal safety, some safety continues to be higher than none. Flu exercise tends to decide up in October and November, and normally peaks between December and February.

Those who move on getting flu pictures might have second ideas about skipping them this yr. About one in 5 individuals who didn’t get the vaccine final season reported they’re extra probably to get the flu vaccine this time round as a result of the final flu season was so extreme, in accordance to a brand new online survey by CVS Pharmacy that was conducted by Harris Poll in July. About 2,000 U.S. adults had been surveyed.

Among mother and father with youngsters youthful than 18 who weren’t immunized final yr, 26 % mentioned their youngsters will probably be vaccinated this yr, in accordance to the survey.

MORE: What you need to know if you have the flu


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