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What you need to know in advance of this year's flu season



Mario Ancalmo receives a flu vaccination from Raphael Lynne, Pharm. D., MBA, at CVS / pharmacy on October 4, 2018 in Miami, Florida.

Joe Raedle | Getty News | Photos of Getty

An influx of flu cases in Australia and at least three deaths in the US in recent weeks has caused some doctors to worry that the flu season this year could be a bad thing for Americans.

Although public health officials say they do not yet know that the 201

9-2020 season is worse than usual, they are still urging people to get their flu vaccines before then. kick in high gear. Australia, just short of its flu season, has seen an influx of H3N2-infected cases.

Health agencies in Riverside County, California, Los Angeles County and Marion County, Indiana, have reported their first flu-related deaths during the 2019-2020 period. Nevada, Kentucky and Louisiana have also reported flu activity, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention spokesman Scott Pauley said.

"An early death during the flu suggests this year could be worse than before," Dr. Cameron Kaiser, Riverside The county's public health official, was warned in a September news release announcing the death there.

The US flu season is just beginning and may last until May. Peak infections usually hit between December and February, according to the CDC. It takes about two weeks for the vaccine to produce an immunity to the disease.

Predicting the duration and size of an outbreak is not an exact science.

"The summer flu is unpredictable," says Dr. Michael Ben-Aderet, associate director of Hospital Epidemiology at the Cedars-Sinai hospital in Los Angeles. Changes in the flu virus, the environment and even "some factors that we do not understand" may contribute to how the flu season in the country is spreading, he added.

Pauley consented. the flu season may be similar, "he said in an email." Australia's weather is bad, but the numbers are slightly exacerbated by the fact that the weather started earlier than normal and that has caused a significant increase trial. "

The last severe US flu season was the 2017-2018 season with an estimated 48.8 million people sick and 79,400 dead, according to the CDC. Rough estimates from the CDC show that last year, there were 37.4 million to 42.9 million people who got the flu and 36,400 to 61,200 died.

"People can protect themselves by vaccination," says Ben-Aderet. "Vaccination is important not only to ourselves, but to the people around us. "

This year's flu shot, the 2019-20 US influenza vaccine, has updated children y during the Southern Hemisphere flu season and other increasing flu activity.

For people concerned that the flu vaccine gives them the flu, Ben-Aderet says this is a "common misconception."

"There is no danger of getting the flu from the flu shot," he said, because of the vaccine. is composed of inactive strains. Most people will only walk with a sore arm. For those who end up sniffling the next day, chances are they have caught one of the other respiratory viruses that have emerged during the season.

In general, Ben-Aderet emphasized that people are better off getting the flu shot than Hindi.

The CDC recommends everyone over 6 months to be vaccinated each year, with rare exceptions. There are different types of flu vaccines, so what works for a pregnant woman may not be the best bet for someone over 65. The CDC recommends talking about these your doctor's choice.


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