5 Things You Need to Know About This Year’s Flu

The weather may be cooling down but, as per usual, flu season is starting to heat up!

Flu season isn’t as predictable as the cycle of the moon, but it does ebb and flow this time of year fairly reliably. Flu season (the season marked by a prevalence of outbreaks of influenza) occurs during the colder months of each respective hemisphere. For North Americans, that’s the winter months of October through to March.

So, why does this keep happening year after year? Well, in short, the virus changes year over year. With every new flu-season comes a new subtype of the influenza virus. Which leaves doctors and patients having to contend with a brand-new flu vaccination each and every season. Some of them work really well, while others not so much.

Today, we’ll take a look at this year’s flu, the latest flu-related news and more. Protect yourself from the flu with a booster-shot of good old-fashioned information. Don’t worry, it won’t hurt a bit. Let’s go!

1. How Bad Will This Flu Season Be?

Don’t uncross those fingers yet, but it looks like this year’s flu season may be on the milder side. That’s based on information coming from Southern Hemisphere countries like Australia, who have enjoyed a fairly tame 2018 season. Part of that is due to the effectiveness of last year’s vaccine when compared to this year’s updated vaccine.

It’s good news for those of us hoping to save our dwindling sick days for the warmer weather (cough, cough), but you certainly shouldn’t take it as an excuse to skip out on getting the vaccine altogether. For starters, these things are fairly difficult to predict. Influenza strains tend to mutate, rendering it relatively unpredictable.

Sometimes, just as unpredictable as the severity of the season is the effectiveness of the vaccine itself. So… how effective is this year’s vaccine?

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2. 2018 Vaccine Effectiveness

Though it’s all but impossible to predict the effectiveness of the flu vaccine this early, the experts are most certainly optimistic. This year’s vaccine has been updated to protect against three vaccines in particular: A/Michigan/45/2015 (H1N1), A/Singapore/INFIMH-16-0019/2016 (H3N2), and B/Colorado/06/2017.

You can be forgiven if those numbers, bracket, and back-slashes mean absolutely nothing to you. The important thing is that, the components of last year’s vaccine that didn’t quite work have been updated. These updates have the doctors feeling good. As such, you should feel pretty confident about this year’s flu shot too!

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