Influenza or flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. The best way to prevent influenza is by getting a flu vaccination each year.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends a yearly flu vaccine for everyone 6 months of age and older as the first and most important step in protecting against this serious disease. While there are many different flu viruses, the flu vaccine is designed to protect against the three main flu strains that research indicates will cause the most illness during the flu season. Information about which viruses this season's vaccine will protect against is available at: http://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/qa/vaccine-selection.htm. Getting the flu vaccine as soon as it becomes available each year is always a good idea. It takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body and provide protection against the flu. Influenza seasons are unpredictable, and can begin as early as October.
Talk protecting yourself and others against the flu. Californians can also take steps to prevent themselves and their families from getting flu and other respiratory infections by washing your hands frequently, covering your cough with a sleeve or a tissue, and staying home if you are sick.
View personal stories of people affected by the flu at ShotbyShot.org. For more flu information, visit www.Flu.gov.
The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) Influenza Surveillance Program is a collaborative effort between CDPH, the CDC, Kaiser Permanente, California local health jurisdictions and participating sentinel providers and laboratories. Annual influenza epidemics follow a winter seasonal pattern in the United States with typical activity peaking during late December to early February. CDPH obtains and analyzes clinical, pharmacy and laboratory data year-round in an effort to determine the timing and impact of influenza activity and to determine how well circulating strains of the virus match those used in the current influenza vaccines.