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.

map

Source: CDC.gov

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:

Be informed about flu season with our must-read articles: “6 Ways to Track the Flu,” “How Does the Flu Spread,” and “5 Easy Ways to Keep the Flu Away.”

Your first best bet for flu prevention is proper hand hygiene. Read more ways to avoid the flu.

Post Author: Natalia Rex
Natalia Rex is the Digital Marketing Coordinator for Coverall. In 2012 she earned her Master of Arts degree in Communication. Her background includes instruction, social media, publication and visual arts.

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