PAMF Health Blog

Be Well, Be Well Informed

Flu Season 101

Posted on Sep 3, 2012

Did you know that every year 5 to 20 percent of Americans get the flu, and more than 200,000 end up in the hospital due to flu complications, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)? The flu can seriously affect pregnant women, young children, the elderly and people with certain chronic medical conditions. The good news is that getting vaccinated is the best way to avoid the flu and stay healthy. Vaccination usually starts in early September and continues throughout the flu season.

What’s in the 2012/2013 Vaccine?

Each year, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) chooses three viruses to include in the seasonal flu vaccine, based on recommendations from the World Health Organization (WHO). The WHO looks at the viruses circulating in the southern hemisphere. For 2012/2013, the strains included in the vaccine are:

  • H1N1, which circulated throughout 2011/2012
  • A (H3N2)
  • B strains

What’s New?

  • Since 2010, the CDC has recommended influenza vaccination for all persons 6 months and older.
  • Experts continue to stress the importance of influenza vaccination for pregnant women, to protect both the woman and the fetus.
  • All influenza vaccine given at the Palo Alto Medical Foundation (PAMF) will be preservative-free and latex-free.
  • Most PAMF locations will offer a mixture of large weekend flu clinics, and weekday drop-in flu clinics
  • We continue to expand our outreach to all patients with both weekend and weekday flu clinics.

Visit to learn more about the flu, including:

  • Who is considered “high risk” from the flu
  • Children and Flu Vaccine
  • Pregnancy and the Flu
  • High-Dose Flu Vaccine for Seniors
  • FAQ’s about Seasonal Flu Vaccine
  • When you should call your doctor If You Have a Cold or Flu
  • How Flu Is Spread
  • Whether You Have A Cold or the Flu
  • Good Habits to Keep You Healthy
  • How to Care for Yourself or Others with the Flu

Dr. Charles Weiss, an urgent care physician and public health expert at the Palo Alto Medical Foundation’s Palo Alto Center, contributed to this blog post.