Flu season’s not over yet
Since last fall, you may have seen messages about the importance of getting a flu shot. If you’ve already gotten yours, you’ve helped yourself avoid one of the nastiest flu outbreaks in recent history.
If you haven’t, you might be thinking, “It’s February! Flu season is almost over! It’s too late to get the shot now, right?”
Flu cases rise in February
“Actually, February is a very active month for the flu virus,” says Dr. Randy Bergen, MD, Kaiser Permanente Northern California Flu Vaccination Clinical Lead. “And flu activity usually continues on well into March — sometimes even April.”
And as 2018 begins, the flu is especially active. News headlines report that flu strains are surging across the country. As of January 2018, the latest update from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows a sharp increase in seasonal flu activity, with 36 U.S. states reporting widespread flu activity (up from just 23 the week before).
In fact, the entire state of California is experiencing elevated flu activity, with many more people than expected seeking treatment for flu-like symptoms, or even being hospitalized.
Why is the flu more common this time of year? Holiday travel is a likely cause. With millions of people cramming into planes, trains, and buses to cross the country and share holiday cheer, it’s not a big surprise when they end up sharing germs, too.
How to protect yourself
Here are the top 3 steps you can take to prevent the flu:
- Get your flu shot now to protect yourself and your loved ones.
- Stop the spread of flu. Wash your hands often, cover your coughs and sneezes, and stay home when you’re sick.
- If you do get the flu, ask your doctor if flu-specific antiviral drugs may be right for you. You can also follow these tips for self-care at home.
Learn more about staying healthy during flu season at kp.org/flu.