Texas Hill Country News

Flu Season for 2017 Could be Worse Than Previous Years

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Experts are currently warning people that this flu season could be more severe than in previous years, as ABC13 in Houston reports. To avoid misery or worse for the season, it’s imperative to take precautions against this potentially fatal disease. Discover the best ways to protect yourself and your family from the flu this season.

Why This Flu Season is Predicted to be Severe

This flu season could be severe

Photo: www.publicdomainpictures.net

Since the Southern Hemisphere has already experienced winter, they’ve had their flu season. Usually, similar types (called strains) of flu affect both regions. In Australia, while Texas had summer, they were in the midst of winter and a severe flu season. More people got sick and more were hospitalized this year in Australia than in a typical year, and that same strain could be coming to the United States. The bad news is the effectiveness of the flu shot for this particular strain.

What About a Flu Shot?

This flu season get a flu shot to stay well

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

The strain that circulated during the Southern Hemisphere’s flu season was Influenza A (H3N2). Unfortunately, when flu vaccines are produced, manufacturers have to make an early prediction about the most prevalent strains the upcoming year will have. Most flu shots protect against three or four different strains. This year, the flu shot has only proven effective about 10 percent of the time. Does this mean getting a shot will prove ineffective? Absolutely not. Though you may still get the flu, if you’ve received a shot, your sickness will likely be much less severe than if you hadn’t gotten the shot.

How to Prevent the Flu

Hand washing can go a long way toward illness prevention this flu season

Photo: www.mcconnell.af.mil

Though the vaccine is not as effective this year as in other years, it’s still a good idea to get vaccinated. You may keep from spreading the flu to others. Keep your hands washed, especially after touching public surfaces such as office phones or computers or shopping carts. Stay well rested and eat well during the flu season to keep your immune system working well.

If you feel yourself getting sick, cough or sneeze into your sleeve rather than your hand to reduce the likelihood of passing the virus to others. And visit the doctor as soon as possible. You may be able to take antiviral medications that reduce the length of the flu. While it may seem trite, this advice is consistently given because it’s been proven to work. Stay well this winter and all year long.