Health News

What’s Going Around? THE FLU. And it’s making it’s way towards us.

Australia and other parts of the southern hemisphere are in the middle of their flu season. Typically, health officials in the U.S. are able to gauge how mild or severe our upcoming flu season will be based on how countries like Australia fared.

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Even though their season is far from over, reports are starting to show that this year’s dominant strain is impacting some of the most vulnerable people. Flu case numbers across the country are beginning to rise and influenza A (H1N1), which mostly strikes children, is what is circulating.

You may remember that H1N1 or swine flu was the strain that was at the center of the 2009 flu epidemic. So if their season is indicative to how ours will be, we know that protection is key.

“Because H1N1 impacts those who are susceptible to flu complications, it’s on all of us to protect each other,” says Florida Hospital Centra Care Medical Director, Tim Hendrix, MD. “Too soon do we forget the medication shortages of Tamiflu or the many tragic losses of those who died from the flu virus. That’s why it’s so important for those 6-months and older to get the flu shot as soon as it becomes available in September.”

Once you receive the flu vaccine, it takes 2 weeks for your body to reach maximum immunity. And considering influenza A (H1N1) strikes our part of the world more towards the earlier months of flu season, it’s better to get vaccinated before flu season really gets under way.

So, just how does the flu virus make its way around the world? Global trade and travel help drive flu migrations onto different continents. In fact, research has shown that outbreaks of common flu strains originate in parts of East and Southeast Asia. Because different regions of the world experience seasons at different times of the year, these emerging new strains make their way into Europe and North America approximately 6 months after making its debut in Asia.

“Don’t assume that just because last season was particularly active, we will have a quiet season this year. The 2017-2018 season started off rather mild but quickly ramped up at the start of the new year,” added Dr. Hendrix.”


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