Flu Season 2018: What You Need to Know

Posted by on January 11, 2018

This year’s flu season is gearing up to be one of the worst, according to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and the Tennessee Department of Health.  All of our Middle Tennessee Physicians Urgent Care clinics have seen many positive flu tests in the last few weeks, and we wanted to share some helpful information with you about how this year’s flu season is unique.

Here are 4 things you should know about the 2018 Flu Season:

1. A bad flu season for Australia means we will likely have a bad flu season. 

We have already seen that flu is bad from the number of sick patients coming to our clinics, however officials tell us it may continue to get worse.  Health officials use information from Australia’s flu season, which runs from May to October, to predict trends for the American flu season, which runs from October until May.  Australia had a record high number of confirmed flu cases for their season, and the H3N2 influenza A subtype that was most prevalent was especially nasty with more severe symptoms.   Flu season in the US peaks from December to February, so we are just now hitting the worst of the season.

2. People die every year from the flu, and this year is no different. 

Tennessee has already experienced four flu-related deaths this flu season, including children and a pregnant woman.  Children under 5 and the elderly are most at risk of death from the flu, however it is recommended that everyone who is able get a flu shot.  Remember it takes about two weeks for your body to build up immunity to the virus after vaccination, so if you haven’t gotten a flu shot, get one today!

3.    This year’s flu shot is likely to be less effective than usual, but you should still get one.

We won’t know how effective the shot is until the flu season is over, but Australia’s shot was found to be less effective than usual.  Even though the vaccine is not a guaranteed protection from all flu-like illnesses, it does offer some protection.  Studies have also found that the flu shot will lessen the course and severity of the disease should you get it and could reduce the risk of death in children who get the flu. 

4.    Basic health and hand hygiene really make a difference in preventing the spread of the flu.

Simple things like staying away from sick people, avoiding touching your face, washing your hands, and cleaning commonly touched surfaces like phones, grocery carts and door handles really help to reduce the spread of germs. If you are sick with flu, stay home from work or school to prevent spreading flu to others.  You can purchase masks from any local pharmacy if someone in your home has the flu.

The most common symptoms of this year’s flu are moderate-to-high fever (although not everyone with the flu will run a fever), sore throat, shaking chills, severe muscle or body aches, headache, stuffy and runny nose and profound fatigue. 

If you experience these symptoms head to one of our four Middle Tennessee Physicians Urgent Care locations to get appropriately diagnosed and treated.  Locally owned and operated by ER physicians – we pride ourselves on excellent care, given efficiently!  

West Nashville –  On Charlotte Pike, in front of the Nashville West Shopping Center

Brentwood –  Off Old Hickory Blvd, near Firebirds and the Well Coffee Shop

Berry Farms – Located off the Goose Creek Bypass in the Berry Farms Town Center, just down from Publix.

Franklin – On the corner of Route 96 & Carothers Parkway in front of Williamson County Medical Center.

 

For more flu information, check out the following links:

https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/season/flu-season-2017-2018.htm

https://www.acsh.org/news/2018/01/02/some-bad-flu-news-h3n2-major-player-year-12350

http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMp1714916?query=featured_home&