The Center for Disease Control and Prevention advises the general public that a slow flu start does not remove vaccination need. Even if this winter will bring alongside it a milder influenza season when compared with last year’s outbreak, the greatest in the past 6 years, this does not mean that people won’t get sick.
Because of the warmer climate present this year, without any major cold waves, flu cases will more than likely peak in the month of February, comparatively later than last year, when it reached its peak on Christmas day. Up to this point in time, the same amount of people who got vaccinated coincides with last year’s number, almost 20%.
Even if the general public consensus is that flu severely affects only those in poor medical condition and young children, vaccination is still strongly advised to people of all ages. By removing the threat of flu towards you, its spread will also be impacted, with the odds of catching the influenza virus for those who are vulnerable to adverse side effects pertaining to influenza drastically decreasing.
One of the major issues currently posed by flu is its constant mutation. The H3N2 virus strain which caused the outbreak of last year mutated in its travels from Southeast Asia. This made the disease almost immune to the vaccine which targeted only the original H3N2 strain, leading to a massive increase in influenza diagnoses.
Although people usually consider flu and cold as something completely common in the colder times of the year, these illnesses still infect over 200.000 Americans annually, with an average of 20.000 deaths caused by said diseases. The elderly in particular suffered the most in 2015, with this area of the population having the highest number of hospitalization cases.
If one would opt to not take the vaccine due to various reasons, ranging from fear of side-effects to just believing that its 50% efficiency is not worth the sacrifice, other measures of prevention are present. Washing your hands often, retaining from entering in contact with infected people or the use of hand sanitizers will also drastically lower the odds of flu infection.
The vaccination movement has been widely spread throughout the US in 2015, with several companies taking their stand in helping the medical community reach every house and home across the country. The car service Uber, for example, had a vaccination program that consisted of delivering a professional nurse and a vaccination kit with 10 doses to each willing participant, right at their doorstep. Even if the program has been completed, clinics and medical facilities have been equipped with the necessary items to vaccinate people against the flu, no matter their location.
Taking into account the fact that a slow flu season start does not remove vaccination need, people who show symptoms linked to this disease should contact their doctor immediately. Anti-viral medication is extremely efficient if patients take them within 48 hours since infection. If this vaccination movement will start to pick up pace across the US, this flu season may very well be the easiest we have ever faced.