​​​​​Seasonal Flu - Influenza

Good health habits are measures that businesses can use to help prevent the spreading of the flu as well as educators and staff. From October through April, Kane County Health Department tracks influenza activity in our county by monitoring:

  • Visits to Emergency Departments for Influenza-Like-Illness
  • Hospita​l laboratory testing for influenza
  • Absenteeism in schools grades K-12

Kane County Health Department's Bee Wize phone line:​ 866-233-9493 or 630-264-7665

What is Influenza (also called flu)?

The 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 the flu is by getting a flu vaccine each year.

Symptoms of the Flu

People who have the flu often feel some or all of these symptoms:

  • fever* or feeling feverish/chills
  • cough
  • sore throat
  • runny or stuffy nose
  • muscle or body aches
  • headaches
  • fatigue (very tired)
  • Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults

*It’s important to note that not everyone with flu will have a fever.

How the Flu Spreads

Most experts believe that flu viruses spread mainly by droplets made when people with flu cough, sneeze, or talk. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby. Less often, a person might also get flu by touching a surface or object that has flu virus on it and then touching their own mouth, eyes, or nose.

Period of Contagiousness

You may be able to pass on the flu to someone else before you know you are sick, as well as while you are sick. Most healthy adults may be able to infect others beginning 1 day before symptoms develop and up to 5-7 days after becoming sick. Some people, especially children and people with weakened immune systems, might be able to infect others for an even longer time.

How Serious is the Flu?

Flu is unpredictable and how severe it is can vary widely from one season to the next depending on many things, including:

  • what flu viruses are spreading
  • how much flu vaccine is available
  • when vaccine is available
  • how many people get vaccinated
  • how well the flu vaccine is matched to flu viruses that are causing illness


Flu seasons are unpredictable and can be severe. In the United States, thousands of healthy adults and children have to visit the doctor or are hospitalized from flu complications each year and some die. Studies going back to 1976 have found that flu-related deaths ranged from a low of 4,700 to a high of 56,600 (average 25,500).

During a regular flu season, about 90 percent of deaths occur in people 65 years and older. During 2009-2010, a new and very different flu virus (called 2009 H1N1) spread worldwide causing the first flu pandemic in more than 40 years. It is estimated that the 2009 H1N1 pandemic resulted in more than 12,000 flu-related deaths in the U.S. In contrast to seasonal flu, nearly 90 percent of the deaths occurred among people younger than 65 years of age.

​What You Need to Know About the Flu Vaccine

A seasonal vaccine is distributed routinely every year. While there are many different flu viruses, this year the majority of flu vaccines protects against the four viruses that research suggests will be most common. The majority of the 2018-19 influenza vaccine are made to protect against the following four viruses:

  • A/Michigan/45/2015 (H1N1)pdm09-like virus
  • A/Singapore/INFIMH-16-0019/2016 A(H3N2)-like virus (updated)
  • B/Colorado/06/2017-like (Victoria lineage) virus (updated)
  • B/Phuket/3073/2013-like (Yamagata lineage) virus.

​Who Should Get the Flu Vaccine?

Everyone 6 months and older should get a flu vaccine every year by the end of October, if possible. However, getting vaccinated later is OK. Vaccination should continue throughout the flu season, even in January or later. Individuals traveling should get vaccinated at least 2 weeks before travel as it takes 2 weeks for vaccine immunity to develop after vaccination. Some children who have received flu vaccine previously and children who have only received one dose in their lifetime, may need two doses of flu vaccine. A health care provider can advise on how many doses a child should get. It is especially important for certain individuals to get vaccinated. These include:

The Vaccine is NOT Recommended for the Following Individuals:

  • Children younger than 6 months
  • Individuals who have had Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) within 6 weeks of getting a flu vaccine

The recommendations for people with egg allergies have been updated for this season. Individuals who have experienced only hives after exposure to egg can get any licensed flu vaccine that is otherwise appropriate for their age and health. Individuals who have symptoms other than hives after exposure to eggs, such as angioedema, respiratory distress, lightheadedness, or recurrent emesis; or who have needed epinephrine or another emergency medical intervention, also can get any licensed flu vaccine that is otherwise appropriate for their age and health, but the vaccine should be given in a medical setting and be supervised by a health care provider who is able to recognize and manage severe allergic conditions. (Settings include hospitals, clinics, health departments, and physician offices). Individuals with egg allergies no longer have to wait 30 minutes after receiving their vaccine.

What is New for 2018-19 Flu Vaccines?

  • Flu vaccines have been updated to better match circulating viruses [the B/Victoria component was changed and the influenza A(H3N2) component was updated]
  • For the 2018-2019 season, the nasal spray flu vaccine (live attenuated influenza vaccine or “LAIV”) is again a recommended option for influenza vaccination of persons for whom it is otherwise appropriate. The nasal spray is approved for use in non-pregnant individuals, 2 years through 49 years of age. There is a precaution against the use of LAIV for people with certain underlying medical conditions. All LAIV will be quadrivalent (four-component)
  • Most regular-dose egg-based flu shots will be quadrivalent
  • All recombinant vaccine will be quadrivalent. (No trivalent recombinant vaccine will be available this season.)
  • Cell-grown flu vaccine will be quadrivalent. For this vaccine, the influenza A(H3N2) and both influenza B reference viruses will be cell-derived, and the influenza A(H1N1) will be egg-derived. All these reference viruses will be grown in cells to produce the components of Flucelvax
  • No intradermal flu vaccine will be available
  • The age recommendation for “Fluarix Quadrivalent” was changed from 3 years old and older to 6 months and older after the annual recommendations were published last season to be consistent with Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved labeling
  • The age recommendation for Afluria Quadrivalent was changed from 18 years old and older to 5 years old and older after the annual recommendations were published last season to be consistent with Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved labeling

 Flu Vaccine Finder

Providers in the community:

Check with your own healthcare provider for availability.

Many health insurance policies cover flu vaccination
 
Many pharmacies in the area offer flu shots. They are available at such places as Walgreens, Osco, CVS and others. Contact your local pharmacy for times and costs; they also can be located in the Flu Shot Locator Map above.
 
Federally Qualified Health Centers in Kane County. Contact the one nearest you for availability

Other Flu Strains currently being tracked by the CDC:
Avian Influenza A (H7N9) Virus

Observed the first full week of December:

Resources

Stop the Flu, It Starts With You Flyer 8.5 x 11, English
Stop the Flu, It Starts With You Flyer 8.5 x 11, Spanish
Stop the Flu, It Starts With You Poster 11 x 17, English
Stop the Flu, It Starts With You Poster 11 x 17, Spanish

Stop the Flu for Children Flyer 8.5 x 11, English
Stop the Flu for Children Flyer 8.5 x 11, Spanish
Stop the Flu for Children Poster 11 x 17, English
Stop the Flu for Children Poster 11 x 17, Spanish

Cover Your Cough Flyer English
Cover Your Cough Flyer Spanish
Handwashing Bi-lingual
Preventive Actions to Fight Germs
Simple Ways to Stay Healthy English
Simple Ways to Stay Healthy Spanish
What to do if you think your child has the flu KCHD English
What to do if you think your child has the flu KCHD Spanish
News & Health Alerts
Healthcare Providers
Flu Resources for Public Health Communicators

​​​CDC Links

Take Time to Get the Flu Vaccine CDC
Businesses & Employers
Schools & Childcare Providers
Parents
People at High Risk
Seniors
Travelers
Avian Influenza A (H7N9) Virus

Stay connected to the latest informationon flu prevention at: