By Dr. Peter Klapper Ph.D.
It’s that time of year again. The weather is starting to cool off, and with that, comes the runny noses, coughs, and sore throats. While sniffles may be in you and your family’s future, we are here to provide a little insight on what to expect this flu season.
What is Flu Season?
Seasonal influenza aka (the flu) is an acute respiratory infection caused by influenza viruses. It spreads easily and its typically contracted when a person sneezes or coughs. In the United States, it occurs every year and tends to circulate around the fall and winter. And while it typically begins in October and goes through March, it’s not uncommon for the flu season to stretch out as long as May. It also can depend on the climate and where you live.
In states like California, flu season is from November to April, where in Texas and Florida, it’s typically from October to May.
Understanding the Influenza Virus
Not all flu cases are created equal. The flu virus that affects humans can come in the form of Influenza A, B or C. Type A is the most common and typically responsible for flu epidemics. It can affect both humans and animals and usually is the most severe. Type B is only found in humans and is not a type likely to cause pandemics. It is also less severe than type A. However, cases can vary from person to person.
Lastly, type C, like B, only found in humans and is even more less severe than the other two types.
Regardless of classification type, each strand is highly contagious and is transmitted when a person coughs or sneezes and droplets enter another person’s nose or mouth. A person can also catch it when they touch a contaminated surface and then touch their face.
The reason we have a “flu season” and see it spread so easily is because more people are in crowded indoor spaces during this time of year due to weather and obligations. Both schools and nursing homes tend to have rapid transmissions and have the most vulnerable populations of children and the elderly.
According to the CDC, people with the flu are the most contagious in the 3–4 days after becoming ill. Symptoms tend to develop 2 days after the illness starts, so a person may pass on the flu before they feel sick.
Common Flu Symptoms
The symptoms of the flu can vary, but common ones include:
- Sore throat
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Muscle or body aches
- Chills / weakness
Preparing for Flu Season
So, what can you do to prepare you and your family this flu season? First, start by supporting your immune system with natural immune boosters such as vitamin C. If you do get sick, more than likely your whole family will get sick, so be sure you have a plan. Whether that is making keeping medicine stocked up, tissues and anything else that makes you feel better when you’re sick.
And don’t forget your Forces of Nature Cold and Flu and Cold and Flu for Kids. These natural medications can help both prevent and provide relief from flu symptoms.