Across the country, flu season is getting ready to peak. New outlets are reporting this season could be more severe than previous. Why is this flu season different from others?
We’re about to hit peak season
The October to May season usually sees a peak of flu cases after the Holidays and well into January. However, warmer weather pushed winter back farther this year and we believe the flu season will peak well into February. Though many parts of the country see flu subside by March, it has the potential to linger until May.
What strain of flu are we dealing with?
Health officials are reporting the viral strain causing many of the flu cases this year is H3N2. This is a more virulent strain and can cause a more severe flu, especially in older individuals.
This year’s flu vaccine options
Fortunately, this year’s trivalent and quadrivalent flu vaccine included the H3N2 strain as shown below.
- A/California/7/2009 (H1N1)pdm09-like virus,
- A/Hong Kong/4801/2014 (H3N2)-like virus and a
- B/Brisbane/60/2008-like virus (B/Victoria lineage)
with the quadrivalent vaccine adding the B/Phuket/3073/2013-like virus (B/Yamagata lineage).
However, the nasal vaccine, live attenuated virus, was not available this year as the CDC cited earlier in 2016 that it would not provide adequate protection against the flu. This could imply many children who preferred the nasal administration over injection refused to get vaccinated.
Older individuals were urged to receive a stronger version of the flu shot due to having less of an ability to mount a strong immune response. The options this year for older individuals were the:
Fluzone High-Dose – a higher dose flu vaccine that will hopefully allow their immunity to protect against the flu longer
FLUAD – the trivalent flu vaccine with an adjuvant to stimulate more of an immune response.
If they did not, they could be more vulnerable to this year’s flu.
Less people chose to be vaccinated against the flu
In November the CDC reported that only 2 out of 5 Americans received the flu shot in preparation of this year’s flu season. The number was similar to last year and unfortunately implies the public’s lack of concern regarding this year’s flu severity.
Its not too late to get the flu shot
Flu vaccines are still available and the CDC encourages those 6 months and older who have not been vaccinated to do so.
For more information on the flu: https://doctordaliah.wordpress.com/2016/10/23/this-years-flu-season-and-flu-vaccine-your-questions-answered/