Ask the Experts: When is Flu Season Officially Over?
Danielle Van Gemert, DO, a board-certified family medicine physician with Franciscan Physician Network Franklin Township Family Medicine in southeast Indianapolis, answers your questions and shares expert insight about the flu season.
Q: When is Flu Season Officially Over?
A: While it's hard to predict when each new flu season will begin or end, this year's flu season started in early fall and may continue through May. What's more, this current vaccine is not as effective against the H3N2 strain as past vaccines, so more people of all ages are being affected. In addition, patients this season seem to be more susceptible to developing pneumonia after having the flu.
My advice to patients is to remain diligent. Continue to practice good handwashing habits, cover your cough, preferably by coughing into your bent elbow. And keep your hands away from your mouth, ears and eyes as much as possible.
Remember the flu is highly contagious and that you and coworkers may be infectious up to a couple of days before experiencing any symptoms. If you do become ill, stay home to avoid infecting co-workers or other family members. When your symptoms diminish, usually about four to seven days, it will be safe to return to your regular routine and interactions. See your family doctor or visit an urgent care center or Franciscan On Demand if you have mild to moderate symptoms. Stay in touch with your care provider, especially if your symptoms worsen.