The number of people sick with influenza in the United States is low now but expected to pick up in the next few weeks, according to The Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Some flu activity is already being reported in 48 of the 50 states – only Mississippi and Virginia are reporting none. The American Red Cross urges everyone six months of age and older to get their flu vaccine now to be protected.
Last year’s flu season was severe with widespread influenza activity across the country. The CDC reports an estimated 48.8 million people had the flu last year with the illness blamed for as many as 79,400 deaths.
Most of the time flu activity peaks between December and February, although activity can last as late as May. You should get a flu vaccine before flu begins spreading in your community. It takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies that protect against flu to develop in the body.
Flu vaccine is available now in many locations such as your doctor’s office, pharmacies, grocery stores and health departments. Your vaccine will help protect you throughout the 2018-2019 flu season.
HELP STOP THE FLU FROM SPREADING
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue or sleeve when coughing or sneezing, and throw the tissue away after use. If a tissue isn’t available, cough or sneeze into your elbow, not your hands.
- Wash hands often, especially after coughing or sneezing. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol based hand-sanitizer.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay home if you’re sick.
For more tips visit www.redcross.org