What Health Officials Worry About This Flu Season
Take a look at the map below, things aren’t looking pretty in the mid to eastern part of the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a massive increase in the level of influenza-like symptoms has occurred in the last few weeks, sending out alerts of a flu epidemic across social.
Although we are in a typical peak period of flu season and this rise of activity is to be expected this time of year, there is one thing health officials are concerned about, which is the flu vaccines having limited strength against “drifter” viruses.
What is this “drift” business?
The Washington Post explains this phenomenon well to those of us who didn’t major in virology. When an antigenic shift occurs in a virus after the vaccine has been produced, then the vaccine is less effective and people can still get sick. This happens every year, but, this year’s “drift” occurred too late for vaccine producers to react in time.
We sometimes share and report tidbits about the flu in a humorous way, and although having a nose that competes with Rudolph’s bright red nose looks funny, the flu is a serious thing and a huge risk for many.
On average, tens of thousands die from the flu (numbers vary based on strain and decade) each year. Most people with the flu do not need medical attention and tend to recover in 2 weeks’ time. Those who are at risk each flu season are:
- Adults 65 and older
- Pregnant Women – for a whole list visit the CDC website
Your first best bet for flu prevention is proper hand hygiene. Read more ways to avoid the flu.