As the holiday season approaches, many individuals are excitedly making plans to travel and gather with loved ones. However, it’s important to remain mindful of the impending flu season, which typically peaks between December and February, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Rannon Ching, the president and chief pharmacy officer for Tarrytown Pharmacy, has observed a significant increase in flu cases following Thanksgiving in Austin. However, this year, there has been a unique trend of mostly sinus illnesses and early outbreaks of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) among children.
RSV, typically peaking in January or February, is exhibiting an unexpected surge in November and December. The reasons behind this shift are still unclear, but it highlights the importance of being vigilant and proactive in preventing the spread of respiratory illnesses.
While temperatures have not yet dropped dramatically, Ching emphasizes that colder weather often contributes to a higher incidence of sickness. To address the rising demand for medications, Tarrytown Pharmacy is fully stocked with penicillins and generic Tamiflus. However, Ching cautions that medication availability may become a challenge as more people fall ill and require prescriptions during the cold months.
When it comes to protection against flu, COVID-19, and RSV, Ching assures the public that flu, COVID, and RSV shots are widely available. Increasingly, individuals are seeking flu shots prior to spending time with older and more vulnerable family members during the holidays. Ching recommends getting the flu shot as soon as possible, even though it takes two weeks to reach full effectiveness. By doing so, individuals will have some level of protection even when in close contact with family members.
Unfortunately, a shortage of RSV shots for children under the age of 2 persists nationwide, including at Tarrytown Pharmacy. Although the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the RSV shot for use in infants in July, limited availability remains a challenge.
By prioritizing early vaccination and following proper hygiene protocols, we can take proactive steps to minimize the impact of flu season and protect ourselves and our loved ones from respiratory illnesses.
1. When does the flu season typically peak?
The flu season usually peaks between December and February, according to the CDC.
2. What is RSV?
RSV, or respiratory syncytial virus, is a common viral infection that primarily affects children. It causes respiratory symptoms such as coughing, congestion, and difficulty breathing.
3. Why is it important to get a flu shot?
Getting a flu shot is crucial because it helps prevent the spread of the flu virus, reduces the severity of symptoms if one does get infected, and protects vulnerable individuals who are more prone to complications.
4. Is the RSV shot currently available?
There is currently a shortage of RSV shots for children under the age of 2, including at Tarrytown Pharmacy. Efforts are ongoing to address the limited availability of the RSV vaccine.