What are the usual symptoms of the flu?
What is the 'flu strain'?
What time of the year flu reaches its peak?
How long is a person affected by flu?
How long can a person remain contagious after being affected?
Can you die of flu?
Is it ever too late to get vaccinated against flu?
Are the effects of the vaccine immediate?
Is flu similar to a cold in terms of seriousness?
These are the questions Dr Jennifer Ashton answers in this ABC News report. Watch it and find out all the answers.
The activity is suitable for intermediate students.
Turning to a health alert this morning. We're seeing a jump in the flu across America. Ten states are seeing widespread outbreaks up from just four one week earlier. Let's go to dr. Jennifer Ashton in Boston this morning. Good morning. How severe is the flu we're seeing at this point in the season?
Well, Dan, in terms of severity, it's the same severity we've been seeing so far. The flu season hasn't peaked yet. We expect that to happen in January or February but what’s changed recently is how many states are affected. As you said now, ten states reporting widespread flu activity. That's up from four. And if you look at a map, it's everywhere from Alaska and Wyoming, to New York and right here in Massachusetts.
It’s interesting to see how spread out it is.
What flu strain is predominant? And what are the signs and symptoms of this particular strain?
So far, what states are reporting to the CDC and to their local health offices are the influenza a, h1n1 strain. This is the strain that caused the pandemic in 2009. It is contained in this year's flu vaccine. So it's well-matched to the circulating strain. And we have to remember the symptoms are not subtle. This causes high fever, severe headache, chest pain, body aches, cough. You can remain sick for a week. And remain contagious for up to a week after that. There've already been deaths. Unfortunately, Dan, we expect there to be more.
If you get the flu, you're not going to be questioning whether you have the flu. It won't be subtle, as you said.
Here's the question we have all the time, especially when we get to this point of the season, is it too late to get vaccinated?
Absolutely not. It is not too late to vaccinate. We have to remember the flu season goes up until April. There is plenty of vaccine available. About 145 million doses were made this year. It does take about two weeks for you to get that immune protection. So you should talk to your clinic, your pharmacy, your doctor, about getting that vaccine right now. And we have to remember, this is not a bad cold. I actually had h1n1 a few years ago. I do not smoke. I do not have asthma. Then I thought I was going to die. It is very serious. It needs to be taken seriously.
I think I remember that. It really knocked you out. Dr. Ashton, thank you very much and again to hammer home that point, it's not too late to get vaccinated. Dr. Ashton, thanks again.
Especially for the young and the elderly across the country.