It’s hard to believe that we’re over half way through September and the dreaded cold and flu season is around the corner.  Piedmont Family Practice wants you to know the facts as presented by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for the 2019-2020 flu season.

According to the CDC, “There are many different flu viruses and they are constantly changing. The composition of U.S. flu vaccines is reviewed annually and updated as needed to match circulating flu viruses.

Flu vaccines protect against the three or four viruses (depending on the vaccine) that research suggests will be most common. For 2019-2020, trivalent (three-component) vaccines are recommended to contain:

  • A/Brisbane/02/2018 (H1N1)pdm09-like virus (updated)
  • A/Kansas/14/2017 (H3N2)-like virus (updated)
  • B/Colorado/06/2017-like (Victoria lineage) virus

Quadrivalent (four-component) vaccines, which protect against a second lineage of B viruses, are recommended to contain:

  • the three recommended viruses above, plus B/Phuket/3073/2013-like (Yamagata lineage) virus.”

Who Should Get the Flu Vaccine?

Everyone 6 months of age and older should get a flu vaccine every season. Vaccination is particularly important for people who are at high risk of serious complications from influenza.

High risk groups include:  Adults 65 years and older, pregnant women, young children, people with asthma, heart disease & stroke, diabetes, HIV/AIDS, cancer and children with neurologic conditions

What Complications Can Occur with Flu?

Most people who get flu will recover in a few days to less than two weeks, but some people will develop complications (such as pneumonia) as a result of flu, some of which can be life-threatening and result in death.

Sinus and ear infections are examples of moderate complications from flu, while pneumonia is a serious flu complication that can result from either influenza virus infection alone or from co-infection of flu virus and bacteria. Other possible serious complications triggered by flu can include inflammation of the heart (myocarditis), brain (encephalitis) or muscle (myositis, rhabdomyolysis) tissues, and multi-organ failure (for example, respiratory and kidney failure).

Flu vaccination has important benefits. It can reduce flu illnesses, doctors’ visits, and missed work and school due to flu, as well as prevent flu-related hospitalizations. Flu vaccine also has been shown to be life-saving in children.

How much flu vaccine will be available this season?

Flu vaccine is produced by private manufacturers, so supply depends on manufacturers. For the 2019-2020 season, manufacturers have projected they will provide between 162 million and 169 million doses of vaccine for the U.S. market. (Projections may change as the season progresses.) Flu vaccine supply updates will be provided as they become available at Seasonal Influenza Vaccine & Total Doses Distributed.

When Should You Get the Flu Shot?

Flu season can run from October to May, with most cases happening from late December to early March. The optimal time to get the flu vaccine is October to mid-November.  Getting vaccinated before the flu season is in full force gives the body a chance to build up immunity to (protection from) the virus.

Both Piedmont Family Practice and Piedmont Urgent Care will be administering flu vaccines through the flu season.  You can call today to schedule your flu vaccine appointment in October.

Click on the link to view a graphic showing the flu season for 2018-2019 lasted from October 1-7, 2018 (week 40) until May 27-31, 2019 (week 22) with the peak of flu season at February 18-24, 2019 (week 8).

Link for more informational graphics: