Flu Season: Tips for staying healthy this winter

The Nashua Telegraph, Adam Urquhart
October 30th, 2017


NASHUA – With recent cold weather and rain moving through the region, flu season has seemed to come early this year.

The timing and duration of flu seasons can vary, but usually peak somewhere around December to February in the U.S., local officials said. A few cases of the flu already have been reported in the area and in New Hampshire; however, it’s not widespread.

“Around here, our most heaviest time for the flu is January to February, but some years you might see a few cases occurring earlier,” said Dr. Alex Granok, of Southern New Hampshire Health Infectious Disease Associates & Travel Medicine.

He said it’s pretty unpredictable when looking to the future for how severe this upcoming flu season will be.

“A lot of it depends on how good of a match the vaccine is for the strain circulating in the community. We predict almost a year ahead of time, because that’s how long it takes to make the vaccine,” Granok said.

If the vaccine doesn’t match, or if a new strain of influenza comes out, there might be more cases of the flu, he noted.

He said both hand washing and getting vaccinated are very important in preventing the spread of the virus.

“We continue to give vaccines all the way up to around the end of the flu season. We pretty much give the vaccine as long as we have it,” Granok said.

However, he also said that even if you were to have Flu A, you could still be susceptible to other strains.

Aside from washing hands regularly, people may also want to avoid people who are sick, especially those with a compromised immune system or other health problems.

Cathy O’Donnell, an APRN at St. Joseph Hospital Family Medicine & Specialty Services practice in Merrimack, said it’s also good to stay home if and when you are sick. This will work to prevent the spread of the flu to others. Also, she said, Influenza A is the strain that’s most often seen.

“It’s never too late to get the flu shot. Pretty much everyone over the age of a few months old is a candidate,” Granok said.

Adam Urquhart can be reached at 594-1206 or aurquhart@nashuatelegraph.com.

Posted: 11/1/2017 by Drew Walker