Will the 2019-2020 flu season be a bad one?
October 7, 2019
With news that the U.S. flu season may be a hectic one, although predictions are generally hard to make, experts agree that the single-most effective method of protecting yourself from the flu is to get vaccinated.
“I have been working in health care for 30 years. We are required to be vaccinated. I can tell you that vaccinations work,” said Dr. David Gude, Texas MedClinic Chief Medical Officer.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is recommending that persons 6-months of age or older get their flu shot by the end of October.
“Depending on the person, it can take roughly 2-6 weeks to receive full immunity from the vaccination, and you want that full immunity before the virus begins its spread, which usually happens during late November into December when the weather gets cold and there is an increase in indoor activities with people gathering to celebrate holidays,” said Gude.
What’s new with the vaccinations this year?
There will be only quadrivalent flu vaccinations for ages 6 months to 64 years. A high-dose trivalent flu vaccine is available for those 65-years and older.
According to the CDC, flu vaccines are updated to better match viruses expected to be circulating in the United States.
- The A(H1N1)pdm09 vaccine component was updated from an A/Michigan/45/2015 (H1N1)pdm09-like virus to an A/Brisbane/02/2018 (H1N1)pdm09-like virus.
- The A(H3N2) vaccine component was updated from an A/Singapore/INFIMH-16-0019/2016 A(H3N2)-like virus to an A/Kansas/14/2017 (H3N2)-like virus.
- Both B/Victoria and B/Yamagata virus components from the 2018-2019 flu vaccine remain the same for the 2019-2020 flu vaccine.
- All four of the vaccine viruses used to produce cell-grown flu vaccine will have been grown in cells, not eggs.
- For those 65-years and older, CDC recommends a trivalent high-dose vaccine. The vaccine is made by Sanofi and is called Sanofi High-Dose Flu vaccine.
For persons 6-months to 64-years of age, Texas MedClinic will be offering the quadrivalent vaccine Flucelvax made by Seqirus. Texas MedClinic also offers HD Flu vaccine for Medicare patients.
What else can you do to stop the spread of the flu?
- Maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Eat well. Drink plenty of water. Exercise.
- Wash your hands. A lot. Use soap and water and scrub hands for at least 20 seconds.
Hand washing is the single most effective way to reduce the spread of germs, particularly for those who live in a household where the flu is present. Be vigilant about washing hands before and after you eat, when handling or preparing food, after handling garbage, or after touching community surfaces like workroom tables, doorknobs and stairway handles.
- Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects like door knobs, desks, and refrigerator handles.
The flu virus can live up to 48 hours after being left behind on a surface. Although the flu virus can survive on hands for only 3 to 5 minutes, if other people later touch a contaminated surface and then touch their eyes, nose, or mouth, they can be exposed to the flu.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
- Avoid gatherings, if possible. And, if you are sick, stay at home.
Texas MedClinic was established in 1982 by Dr. Bernard T. Swift, Jr., as a group medical practice that specializes in urgent care and occupational medicine. Texas MedClinic has grown to 19 locations in San Antonio, New Braunfels, Austin, and Round Rock. Texas MedClinic is staffed with 82 medical providers including physicians, physician assistants and nurse practitioners and over 450 employees.4