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How to protect yourself from the flu

It’s not too late to protect yourself from the flu | UPMC Health Plan

What’s happening on the frontlines of the 2014-2015 flu season? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported earlier this month that flu remains widespread across most of the U.S. Overall, it is still a typical flu season. The flu vaccine is not working as well as usual against some H3N2 viruses — but, make no mistake, you should still get the vaccine if you haven’t already.

Why doesn’t the vaccine protect against 100 percent of flu viruses? Flu viruses are always changing. They can change from one season to the next. They can even change over the course of one flu season. Experts must pick which viruses to include in the vaccine months in advance so that doses can be produced and delivered on time. Combine these factors and there is always a chance the viruses in the vaccine won’t be a perfect match to the ones circulating.

Why get the flu vaccine? It’s important to remember that even when a mismatch happens, vaccination still protects you. It protects against other flu viruses that match the vaccine — and reduces your risk of becoming seriously ill. If you do catch the flu, you can expect less severe flu symptoms.