Health: It's almost Flu season, are you ready?

September 20, 2013

Hey Everyone,

It's almost Flu season! If you are in certain parts of the world, then you know it's time to go and get the flu vaccine. Getting the flu vaccine doesn't mean you won't get the flu, it means that you will protected against certain strains of Influenza.

Below are answers to questions you might have  regarding this year's Influenza vaccine...

What sort of Flu season is expected this year?
Flu seasons are unpredictable in a number of ways. Although epidemics of flu happen every year, the timing, severity, and length of the season varies from one year to another.

When will flu activity begin and when will it peak?

The timing of flu is very unpredictable and can vary from season to season. Flu activity most commonly peaks in the U.S. in January or February. However, seasonal flu activity can begin as early as October and continue to occur as late as May. 

What should I do to prepare for this flu season?

CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine for everyone 6 months of age and older as the first and most important step in protecting against this serious disease. While there are many different flu viruses, the flu vaccine is designed to protect against the three main flu strains that research indicates will cause the most illness during the flu season. Getting the flu vaccine as soon as it becomes available each year is always a good idea, and the protection you get from vaccination will last throughout the flu season.
In addition, you can take everyday preventive steps like staying away from sick people and washing your hands to reduce the spread of germs. If you are sick with flu, stay home from work or school to prevent spreading influenza to others.

Where can I get a flu vaccine?

Flu vaccines are offered in many locations, including doctor’s offices, clinics, health departments, pharmacies and college health centers, as well as by many employers, and even in some schools.
Even if you don’t have a regular doctor or nurse, you can get a flu vaccine somewhere else, like a health department, pharmacy, urgent care clinic, and often your school, college health center, or work.
Visit the HealthMap Vaccine FinderExternal Web Site Icon to locate where you can get a flu shot.

What kind of vaccines will be available in the United States for 2013-2014?

A number of different manufacturers produce trivalent (three component) influenza vaccines for the U.S. market, including intramuscular (IM), intradermal, and nasal spray vaccines.

Most of the flu vaccine offered for the 2013-2014 season will be trivalent (three component). Some seasonal flu vaccines will be formulated to protect against four flu viruses (quadrivalent flu vaccines) and will be available as well according to manufacturers. All nasal spray vaccines are expected to be quadrivalent, however, this makes up only a small portion of total vaccine availability.

What flu viruses does this season’s vaccine protect against?

Flu vaccines are designed to protect against the influenza viruses that experts predict will be the most common during the upcoming season. Three kinds of influenza viruses commonly circulate among people today: Influenza A (H1N1) viruses, influenza A (H3N2) viruses, and influenza B viruses. Each year, these viruses are used to produce seasonal influenza vaccine.
The 2013-2014 trivalent influenza vaccine is made from the following three viruses:
  • an A/California/7/2009 (H1N1)pdm09-like virus;
  • an A(H3N2) virus antigenically like the cell-propagated prototype virus A/Victoria/361/2011;
  • a B/Massachusetts/2/2012-like virus.
It is recommended that the quadrivalent vaccine containing two influenza B viruses include the above three viruses and a B/Brisbane/60/2008-like virus

How effective is the flu vaccine?

Inactivated influenza vaccine effectiveness (VE) can vary from year to year and among different age and risk groups.

For more information on the Influenza vaccine, please visit

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  1. I like it when you subtly remind us you're a doctor with these bits of information!!

    Really enjoyed the post you had on women taking care of ourselves, the 'well woman exam' post. Really loved it.

    Well done, I'll keep coming back!


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