This Season could be Especially Bad!
If you haven’t had your flu shot yet, there’s a good reason to get it taken care of this year. Scientists predict this year’s flu season is going to be a rough one. According to the Chicago Tribune, University of Chicago researchers have developed a new way to predict flu season “significantly earlier” than in the past, by combining information about how the flu virus spreads with how much the virus has evolved compared to years past. And this year, according to their analysis, you can expect a worse-than-average flu season.
“Our analysis for this year showed that the virus is already changing in a significant way,” researcher Mercedes Pascual said in a statement. “We predict an outbreak that is above average but moderate, not severe, because last year was such a bad season.”
Surprisingly enough, scientists often look to Australia as a predictor of flu season in the northern hemisphere, USA Today reports. And Australia had a particularly rough flu season, but scientists say the strain of flu that spread there is included in this year’s flu vaccine. So, if you get the shot, you should be safe.
The flu season is already off to a rocky start in places like Oklahoma. But some scientists are particularly worried about Texas, Florida, and the Caribbean, which were affected by hurricanes this year, and California, which has been affected by fires. That’s because people who are displaced may not stick to their normal medical routines, which include flu vaccines.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend everyone six months and older get a flu vaccine every year, by the end of October if possible, though later is also okay. Only injectable shots are recommended this season, and you can check the CDC website for more information. Getting a flu vaccine not only protects yourself from getting sick, but it also protects the people around you, including vulnerable people like elderly people, children, pregnant women, and people with immune system problems.
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