It’s been a bad flu season and even though there is a vaccine for it, the rate of (children) deaths and hospitalization is higher than normal since such numbers have not been reported for around 15 years. According to Center for Disease and Control Prevention (CDC)data, the month of October to December of 2017 saw that there were fourteen hospitalizations per hundred thousand people. The current harsh season is mostly related to the kind of flu strains that are circulating. This year is the H3N2 strain that is known to cause more severe symptoms than any other strain.
A flu season can also be severe when flu strains included in yearly flu shots match the ones circulating in the public, research so far has proven that the flu strains affecting people appear to resemble the flu strains that were selected for the vaccine.
A yearly flu vaccine is recommended for all those who are six months of age and above since this remains to be the best way to prevent the flu. Once vaccinated the illness is milder if you happen to catch the flu.
The Effectiveness of This Year’s Shot
The vaccine’s effectiveness for seasonal flu changes from a year to another and has a lot to do with how perfect the flu strains in the vaccine match the strains in circulation. The CDC indicates that if the strains in the vaccine perfectly match the strains affecting people during the season, the vaccine becomes up to sixty percent effective. This year’s shot might not be effective enough for H3N2 but it’s 67% effective against H1N1 and 42% effective against influenza B.
Researchers for the Center for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that this year’s flu shot has minimized the likelihood of patients visiting the doctor due to issues related to the flu by 36%. The shot was reported to be 25% effective against the main strain of flu disseminating this year, which was H3N2. This year ‘s flu shot has worked efficiently on children between the ages of eight months up to eight years. This has seen to it that the chances of visiting the doctor due to flu have been minimized by fifty-nine percent overall. The shot has also been thirty-three percent effective on those aged between eighteen to forty-nine. The elderly of sixty-five years and above are highly susceptible to the flu problems but unfortunately, the shot lowered the risk for them by an insignificant amount.
Flu Shot Facts
The following are flu shot facts you should know about;
- The seasonal flu shot is a vaccine administered every year to protect against flu.
- The flu strains and virus are always changing, the vaccine is therefore made a new each year.
- Flu shots protect against 3 or 4 strains of the virus.
- Other forms of flu shot vaccine include a high dose version for those of 65 years and above and a small needle version for those of ages 18 to 64, egg free version grown in animal cells and a nasal spray.
Side Effects of the Shot
The following are common side effects associated with the flu shot;
- Swelling at the injection site
- Low-grade fever and aches
- Difficulty breathing
- Swelling of eyes or lips
- Racing heart
Getting Flu Twice a Month
No expert has confirmed if it’s possible to catch flu twice in a season since multiple flu strains circulate at a time. The amazing news is that it is really rare to catch the flu twice in just one season.