Nashville’s 2019 Flu Season: 4 Things You Need to Know
Update 11/4/19: Complete Urgent Care saw its first positive flu cases. It’s here, folks!
Nashville’s flu season is here. While we haven’t had any positive flu tests at our West Nashville urgent care clinic yet, they usually start showing up right after Halloween. There have been positive cases across the United States, and, unfortunately, two pediatric flu deaths already this year. Flu is a serious virus that morphs and changes every year, so read on to learn about this year’s unique flu season and how you can protect yourself and your loved ones.
1. Australia’s bad flu season likely means a bad flu season in the United States. (Click for more info)
Because the Southern Hemisphere experiences flu season before the Northern Hemisphere, scientists can use data from Australia to help predict details about flu season in the US. Australia’s flu season hit hard and early – with more reported cases than the 2017 flu season which was a record year in both Australia and the US. Because of this experts have been extra vigilant about encouraging everyone to get their flu shot before Halloween. It takes your body up to two weeks to build immunity after a flu shot, so getting vaccinated early will help you be ready when the virus hits.
You can track the flu like a weather report here: https://www.cdc.gov/flu/weekly/index.htm
There have been a lot of rumors floating around about this year’s flu shot not covering the strain of flu that is circulating, however there really hasn’t been enough flu activity to make such a broad claim, AND a vaccine “mismatch” doesn’t mean you shouldn’t protect yourself with a flu shot.
Flu shots are never expected to be 100% effective at preventing the flu. It’s just not possible because there are always multiple strains of flu circulating all the time. The goal is for the shot to prevent as many flu cases as possible, BUT flu shots offer protection even if a person does get the flu. The article in the link above covers all that goes into the process of making a flu vaccine, but, in summary, it says that a flu shot significantly reduces complications and the need for hospitalization in those who contract the flu. The shot itself contains an inactive form of the flu virus which initiates an immune response in your body. This response kicks your immune system in gear to fight against any flu it encounters to keep you from getting infected and to better fight any infection you might get. Those who are vaccinated against the flu virus are less likely to be hospitalized or be admitted to the intensive care unit.
From the Self Article: “A flu shot that is only 20% effective could still prevent 20 million infections, 129,000 hospitalizations, and 61,000 deaths compared to no vaccine.”
Get your immune system in top shape before flu season to protect against whatever virus the season throws at us. This includes all elements of good health such as eating right, taking vitamins and getting a flu shot.
The links below include more information about the flu shot and other ways to protect against the flu.
Last flu season the FDA introduced a new antiviral medication known as Xofluza (pronounced ZO-flu-za). This was the first new treatment for the flu in 20 years, and it has shown some remarkable results in reducing the duration of flu symptoms without as many of the side effects that we have seen with other antiviral medications. As with all antiviral flu medications, the treatment needs to be initiated within 48 hours of symptom onset, so it is very important to get tested as soon as flu symptoms begin. We are excited to have another tool to help treat the symptoms of this virus, and hopefully to reduce the complications that often accompany it such as pneumonia and sepsis.
It is always important to know how to identify the signs and symptoms of the flu and how to differentiate these signs/symptoms from those of common cold and other respiratory infections. The most common and best identifying symptoms of the flu are a fever over 100.4 (in adults), aching muscles, chills/sweats, headache and fatigue. While respiratory symptoms such as a dry cough, sore throat, or nasal congestion might also occur, they are less common than the fever and whole body symptoms.
Flu Preparation at Complete Health Partners
Complete Health Partners primary care and urgent care are prepared to protect the whole family from the flu this year. We carry flu shots for both adults and pediatrics with preservative-free flu shots available as well. Most insurances cover the cost of an annual flu shot for adults and kids. Our Nashville walk-in clinic also carries rapid flu tests for quick identification of positive flu cases – this is especially important as anti-viral medications for the flu must be started within 48 hours of symptom onset.
If you or a family member is experiencing flu symptoms, book an urgent care visit or simply walk into our clinic 7 days a week from 9am to 7pm. Our urgent care clinic is conveniently located of Interstate 40 at the Nashville West Shopping Center near Costco, Target and Chic-Fil-A.