The flu forecast is cloudy and it is early to know if the United States is entering a miserable third season in a row, but health officials said Thursday they would not delay vaccination.
While the vaccine has not offered much protection over the past two years, specialists have tuned the recipe, hoping to better counter the unpleasant burden this time around.
"To get vaccinated is the best way to stop what is happening." Daniel Wernigan, head of the flu at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told The Associated Press.
Last year, the flu brought double trouble: a new compound launched a second wave of illnesses, just as the first was suffocating, setting a record for one of the longest flu seasons. The year before, the flu has the highest death toll in decades.
So far it does not appear that the flu season starts early, Cernigan said. The CDC is urging people to get the flu vaccine by the end of October. Usually, the flu starts widespread in November or December, and peaks from February.
Scientists are hunting for better flu vaccines, and the Trump administration last week called for renewed efforts to modernize production. Most of today's vaccines are created by breeding chickenpox virus, 70-year-old technology also with some weaknesses. It takes too long to create new doses when a surprise virus emerges. And fascinatingly, new production techniques can only increase your efficiency.
For now, people who are vaccinated and still sick can expect a milder illness – and a lower risk of pneumonia, hospitalization or death, said Dr. William Haffner of Vanderbilt University and the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases.
He is known to tell such patients, "I am always happy to see that you are still complaining here."
Here are some things you need to know:
WHEN ONLY A VACCINE?
Everyone, from 6 months of age, according to CDC.
The flu is most dangerous for people over 65, young children, pregnant women and people with certain health conditions such as heart disease, asthma or other lung diseases, including diabetes.
But it can kill, even the young and otherwise healthy. On average, the CDC says the flu kills about 24,000 Americans each year.
HOW MANY DO YOU THINK?
Not enough, says CDC. Because the flu virus is crippling rapidly, a new vaccine is needed annually. Last year, 45% of adults and 63% of children were vaccinated, according to figures released on Thursday.
do a little better with some groups. Nearly three-quarters of children under the age of 5 were vaccinated last year and just over two-thirds of the elderly.
HOW GOOD THIS YEAR?
Influenza is one of the most unpredictable enemies in medicine.
Last fall, for example, started off quite mild. But in February, a virus known as H3N2 suddenly appeared. Worse, even though every year the vaccine contains H3N2 protection, which made circulation errors, it was not a good match. The vaccine that worked well in the first few months of the flu season was suddenly not much.
But if the serious mistake comes back, the vaccine has been updated this year to better fit it.
Manufacturers say 162 million to 169 million doses of the vaccine will be available this year, and people may ask you about different options. Most provide protection against four types of flu.
the traditional influenza vaccine for all ages. For adults who are not phobic needles, a brand that uses a needle-free injector will push that vaccine through the skin. And the FluMist Nasal Spray is for normal healthy people aged 2 to 49 years.
Two brands are designed specifically for the 65 plus audience whose weakened immune system is unresponsive, as well as for conventional shots. One is a large dose and the other contains an additional immunostimulatory compound. These brands protect against three types of flu, including the more severe.
And people who are allergic to eggs have two options, a brand that is grown in mammalian cells instead and another made with genetic engineering and insect cells.
NO VACCINES VICTIMS OF VICTORY NEW INTEREST
Newer technologies have been able to accelerate production, which is currently a six-month process.
But there is another reason to be left without an egg, to become a scientist. "Attention: Certain species change slightly as they grow into chicken eggs, an adaptation that gives the vaccine a little less protection.
Especially a problem for those who hunt H3N2 strains. Although it is not clear what the difference is, Haffner said, some doctors are already considering using egg-free brands for high-risk patients.
"OTHER STEPS TO THE WORD,
Cover cough and sneeze. Wash your hands often during the flu season. A recent study has shown that washing is better than disinfecting the hands.
Questions about flu treatments if you have a risk of complications.
And most importantly, stay home when you are sick, to keep spreading misery.
The Associated Press's Department of Health and Science receives support from the Howard-Hughes Medical Institute's Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.
Updated date: September 26, 201 06:26