With Thanksgiving week in full swing, families and friends are coming together to celebrate and enjoy each other’s company. However, it’s important to remember that this time of year also marks the height of flu season. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that peak flu activity typically occurs between December and February.
According to Rannon Ching, the president and chief pharmacy officer for Tarrytown Pharmacy in Austin, Texas, the pharmacy tends to see a significant increase in flu cases after Thanksgiving. However, this year, they have noticed a rise in sinus illnesses, ear infections in children, and an earlier-than-usual increase in RSV (respiratory syncytial virus) among children. Typically, RSV peaks in January or February, but now cases are emerging as early as November and December.
The reason behind this shift in RSV activity remains unknown, but it’s essential to be aware of this trend and take necessary precautions. Additionally, Ching notes that the absence of significant temperature drops could contribute to fewer sicknesses typically associated with colder weather.
To combat the impending flu season, Tarrytown Pharmacy has stocked up on penicillins and generic Tamiflu. However, Ching cautions that as more people fall ill during the colder months, medication shortages may occur. Fortunately, flu, COVID, and RSV shots are widely available. As families prepare to gather with older, more vulnerable relatives, it’s recommended to get a flu shot even though it takes two weeks to reach full effectiveness. This way, you can still have some level of protection after spending time with loved ones.
One concern that remains is the shortage of RSV shots for children under the age of two. Despite the FDA approving the drug in July, pharmacies across the country, including Tarrytown Pharmacy, continue to experience limited availability. The pharmacy had hoped to administer more RSV shots to infants during their first season of RSV, but the shortage has hindered this effort.
As we enter the holiday season, it’s crucial to prioritize health and take the necessary steps to protect ourselves and our loved ones. From getting flu shots to practicing good hygiene, vigilance against cold and flu viruses is key during this time of year.
Q: When is the peak of flu activity?
A: The peak of flu activity typically occurs between December and February, according to the CDC.
Q: What is RSV?
A: RSV (respiratory syncytial virus) is a common respiratory virus that can cause mild to severe illness, particularly in young children and older adults. It often leads to symptoms similar to the common cold.
Q: Is it still recommended to get a flu shot if I’ve already seen my family?
A: Yes, getting a flu shot is still beneficial even if you’ve already spent time with family. It takes two weeks for the vaccine to reach full effectiveness, but even partial protection can help reduce the severity of flu symptoms.
Q: Why is there a shortage of RSV shots for children?
A: Despite the FDA approving the RSV shot, pharmacies are experiencing a shortage of supply, which has resulted in limited availability for children under the age of two. The specific reasons behind the shortage may vary.