Flu Season 2013-2014

By: Alere Staff
Tue, 10/01/2013

Winter is the time for flu, but the exact timing and duration of flu seasons vary. While flu outbreaks can happen as early as October, most of the time flu activity peaks in January or later.

Influenza is a contagious respiratory illness caused by flu viruses. It can cause mild to severe illness. The flu is different than a cold. The flu usually comes on suddenly and symptoms often include:

  1. Fever
  2. Cough
  3. Sore Throat
  4. Runny or Stuffy Nose
  5. Muscle or Body Aches
  6. Headaches
  7. Fatigue (tiredness)

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends a yearly flu vaccine for everyone 6 months of age or older. 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.1Getting 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 season. For additional information about the flu shot and potential interaction with your INR, read our article.

In addition, you can take everyday preventive steps like staying away from sick people and wash your hands to reduce the spread of germs. If you are sick with the flu, stay home from work or school to prevent spreading influenza to others.

If you do get sick with the flu, there are drugs that can treat flu illness. They are called antiviral drugs and they can make your illness milder and make you feel better faster. They can also prevent serious flu-related complications, like pneumonia. As always, if you are prescribed a new medication like an antiviral, make sure you notify your doctor that you have begun taking this medication.

  1. Kostova, et al "Influenza illness and hospitalizations averted by influenza vaccination in the United States, 2005" PLOS ONE 2013; 8(6): e66312.