How bad will flu season be this year? Should you get vaccinated?

How bad will flu season be this year?  Should you get vaccinated?

“Schedule your flu shot” messages are appearing on billboards, store fronts, and in crowded email inboxes. As COVID-19 continues to circulate, influenza (flu) is also preparing to make its annual entrance.

Flu season in the US can start in October and last through May, peaking in the dead of winter between December and February.

In a typical year, up to 36,000 people in the United States die from the flu.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that while the 2021-22 flu season was fairly mild, likely because COVID-19 precautions protected against the flu, influenza A was still lingering through mid-June. Health care providers were also on the lookout for cases of bird flu.

The CDC says that vaccination is the best way to avoid the flu or at least serious complications.

But how bad will the next flu season be?

Forecasting a bad year

Experts expect the flu could return in full force this fall and winter.

According to the LaCrosse Tribune“While the CDC says the ‘timing, intensity and severity of the 2022-23 flu season cannot be predicted,’ Dr. Abinash Virk, an infectious disease specialist at Mayo Clinic Rochester, says it’s likely that the widespread return to pre-COVID habits to lead to an increase in infections.”

He said practices like masking, social isolation and generally keeping your distance from others have all but disappeared, so the spread of influenza is likely to be stronger.

The Lancet reported a “rapid increase in notifications of influenza A in Australia, which started earlier than usual and as of (August 3) register record numbers”.

The article said that the first data from Australia help predict what will happen in the northern hemisphere this winter.

The study said most of the cases “below” were cases of influenza A, “known to cause more serious epidemics.” And he noted that reduced precautions against COVID-19 will likely contribute to more flu cases, which will then be exacerbated by low vaccination rates there, and perhaps in the United States as well.

Flu symptoms and prevention.

Influenza is a highly contagious respiratory illness and can cause serious complications and even death. People with compromised immune systems and other chronic conditions, the elderly, pregnant women, and young children are at higher risk.

Symptoms include fever and chills, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle and body aches, headaches, exhaustion, and sometimes vomiting and diarrhea, more common in children than adults, according to the CDC.

While fever is common, not everyone with the flu has a fever, the agency says.

The flu spreads through respiratory droplets in the air or on surfaces and objects. People who touch those objects and then their own eyes, nose, or mouth can become infected.

Each flu season, an average of 1 in 12 people gets the flu. And it’s possible to spread it to other people before you even know you have it, the CDC says.

Complications can include pneumonia, ear infections, sinus infections, and a worsening of some chronic medical conditions, such as heart failure and asthma.

Good hygiene is also an important prevention tool: Cover coughs and sneezes, and wash your hands regularly.

But health officials say there’s nothing better than getting a flu shot every year.

About the vaccine

The federal government promotes flu vaccination for those older than 6 months, with the exception of those with allergies to ingredients in the vaccine. Children under 8 years of age need two doses. And experts say that September or October is the ideal time to get vaccinated, although later is better than nothing.

the LaCrosseTribune he said “flu shots have a 40-60% effectiveness rate, according to the CDC.”

An international network of laboratories collaborates in the surveillance of influenza activity. Using that information and looking at influenza circulation patterns, vaccine experts on the Food and Drug Administration’s Advisory Committee on Vaccines and Related Biologicals consider the World Health Organization’s recommendation to decide what to do next. included in the vaccine. Those factors form your best-informed guess about what type of flu will be around during the upcoming flu season. Most of the time, the guess is pretty accurate, although occasionally a strain of flu emerges that was not expected.

The 2022-23 flu vaccines use the same formula that was used last year for the H1N1 variant flu, but made some changes to the H3N2 portion. Both are influenza A strains. The influenza B component was changed this year.

health line reported there are six vaccine options this year, including egg-free ones for allergy sufferers, a nasal spray, and higher-strength versions for older adults. DrugReported Topics that in June, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommended that “all adults over 65 years of age receive high-dose influenza vaccines for better protection.”

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