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Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Health Officials Predict a Bad Flu Season This Year

Health Officials Predict a Bad Flu Season This Year
Dr. Daniel Jernigan, influenza chief at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), recently announced that the U.S. could be hit hard with the flu this year. They are especially concerned about the H3N2 flu which they refer to as "the bad actor."

Why will this flu season be bad?

The CDC has been following the H3N2 flu which has already hit the Southern Hemisphere, especially Australia. This strain of flu causes severe illness, and cases are already appearing in the U.S. Children, the elderly and those with compromised immune systems are particularly vulnerable; studies show that most children who die from the flu weren't vaccinated.

History shows that strains that circulate in the Southern Hemisphere often spread to North America and Europe. This, coupled with the fact that only about 47 percent of the population was vaccinated, raises concern for the CDC and the World Health Organization.

Who should get vaccinated?

Flu shots represent the best protection for preventing H3N2 flu, according to the CDC. Those who are particularly vulnerable include:

  • People over age 65
  • Young children, starting a age 6 months
  • Pregnant women
  • People with certain health conditions, including asthma or heart disease

According to the CDC, flu kills about 24,000 Americans each year, and last year, the toll included 105 children.

Does it work?

The CDC states that people who get flu shots have a 40 - 60 percent lower chance of getting seriously ill than those who are not vaccinated. Unfortunately, the nasal spray used in previous years is no longer offered because it is not as effective as a flu shot.

To learn more about how to protect yourself from the flu, visit or ask your doctor, pharmacist, or local health clinic.
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