Flu season is coming.
As predictable as changing leaves in the fall and Halloween candy on store shelves in September, the flu is a perennial adversary that keeps doctors, pharmacies, care facilities and everyday Americans on their toes — year in and year out.
But, with each new year comes the potential for new recommendations. While treatment advice generally remains the same — recommending rest and plenty of fluids for anyone who contracts the virus — new vaccine formulas are introduced, vaccination windows are recommended and predictions for the season ahead are made.
With all that in mind, here are X things to know about the 2022-23 flu season.
It might be worse than last year.
Based on activity that has been monitored in the southern hemisphere, experts have reason to believe this flu season could be more significant than last flu season. Why? Cases have reached five-year highs south of the equator, and experts believe the protections the global population utilized during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, such as masking and social distancing, kept the flu from spreading but also diminished everyone’s collective immunity.
Three vaccines are recommended for adults 65+.
While this year’s cadre of available flu vaccines numbers a half-dozen, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) prefer that adults ages 65 and older use one of three designated vaccines due to their robust potency as compared to other options. Those three vaccines include:
- Fluzone High-Dose Quadrivalent vaccine
- Flublok Quadrivalent recombinant flu vaccine
- Fluad Quadrivalent adjuvanted flu vaccine
Same time. Same place.
The recommended vaccination window from the CDC remains the same this year as in previous years. For those who need just one dose for the season, it is recommended they plan to receive it in September or October to best protect them throughout the height of the season. However, a late vaccine is better than no vaccine, according to experts.
This year’s flu vaccine received two updates from last season’s. Updates to the vaccine virus components were applied to the Influenza A(H3N2) and the Influenza B(Victoria lineage) vaccine.
Two weeks for protection.
It generally takes two weeks after a vaccination for a person to begin developing immunity to an influenza infection. So, experts suggest that anyone who wants a flu vaccine should get it by the end of October to be best protected during the height of the season.
Higher-risk populations need vaccination.
While the CDC encourages everyone who wants a flu vaccine to get one, there are certain populations that can benefit more from vaccination. Pregnant women, people ages 65 and older, and anyone living with chronic health conditions — such as diabetes or heart disease — are encouraged to get a flu vaccine to avoid contracting the flu and potentially developing additional complications.
At UnitedRX, we deliver a hometown pharmacy experience to more than 350 clients across the country, and we’re happy to discuss a flu vaccination plan for your long-term care facility. Contact us to learn more about how our approach to treatment can meet the pharmacy needs of your long-term care facility.