Source: Florida Today (FL)
By: Bobik, Connie
In the United States, the arrival of fall also means the approach of flu season, writes Connie Bobik, associate professor of nursing at Brevard Community College. Each year, between 5 percent and 20 percent of U.S. residents will contract the flu and about 200,000 will be hospitalized with related complications. Getting the seasonal flu vaccine is one way to avoid contracting the illness. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that vaccinations begin as soon as vaccines become available. People usually take about two weeks to develop the antibodies that protect against the virus. This year’s vaccine targets seasonal influenza A (H3N2), influenza B, and H1N1. Flu symptoms can include chills and aches, fever, cough, and fatigue, generally appearing one to four days after exposure to the virus. Besides getting vaccinated, individuals should wash their hands with warm water and soap frequently, use antibacterial wipes to clean work areas, avoid people with colds and flu-like symptoms, and avoid touching their eyes, nose, and mouth with unclean hands.