Flu seasons are unpredictable but it is not too soon to start preparing for this year’s influenza outbreak. Flu activity most commonly peaks in the U.S. in January or February. However, seasonal flu activity can begin as early as October and continue to occur as late as May, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Doctors have not yet issued any predictions on how severe this year’s flu season will be on the heels of what was a long-lasting and tough year in many parts of America last year.
U.S. Manufacturers have projected that they will produce between 135 million and 139 million doses of influenza vaccine for use in the United States during the 2013-2014 influenza season. An estimated 30 million to 32 million of these doses will be quadrivalent flu vaccine. The rest will be trivalent flu vaccine.
The quadrivalent vaccine protects against four flu viruses and the trivalent protects against three strains. Most of the flu vaccines available this year will be trivalent.
All nasal spray flu vaccines are expected to be quadrivalent, however, this makes up only a small portion of total flu vaccine availability. The nasal spray flu vaccine is approved for use only for healthy people 2 through 49 years of age who are not pregnant.
The CDC recommends that everyone 6 months of age and older get a flu vaccine. It is also recommended that people get their flu shots by October.