What to Know About the 2019 Flu Season

Recent Flu Seasons

The past two flu seasons have been particularly bad. The flu vaccine last year had an effective prevention rate of only 29%. This was caused by an unfortunate surprise in the late half of the season. A new strain, H3N2, began rapidly infecting people late in season, showing one of the problems with managing the influenza virus. Vaccines only protect against a specific strain of the flu virus. Additionally, the vaccine takes a relatively long amount of time to prepare, so any deviant strains that appear in a given flu season can wreak havoc.

Predictions for this Year

According to data from Australia, the flu season is expected to come early this year. In fact, there are already reports of outbreaks across the US. Luckily, it seems as though this year won’t be as intense as previous ones. Even so, medical professionals emphasize the need to get vaccinated early. Vaccination not only protects yourself, but assists in preventing the spread of the disease to others. Additionally, even if you catch the flu while vaccinated, the symptoms are often less severe compared to those who did not get vaccines. Health professionals predict that the optimal time to get the flu shot for this season is before the end of October, so make sure to not forget.

Quick Flu Season Facts

The CDC estimates that 8% of the population of the U.S. will get sick with the flu in a given season. While for most people the flu is just a major inconvenience, it can be seriously life threatening to vulnerable populations. Young children and the elderly are especially susceptible to the flu, along with people who have existing respiratory conditions such as asthma. If you or a loved one is at greater risk for contracting the flu, make certain you get vaccinated in time and consult with your doctor about how best to minimize flu infection risks.