I got a serious flu in the early 2018 when I was on business in the U.K. The flu, triggered by H3N2, forced me in bed for more than 10 days with high fever and severe coughs. I literally shuddered when I knew that H3N2 would be responsible for this flu season too.
Influenza patients have started to slowly trickle into doctors’ offices and hospitals in recent weeks. Although the activity remains low, it’s time to get a flu shot since there are indicators showing the flu season could be harsh, like the deadly influenza that spread two years ago.
Severe flu season in Australia
Australia experiences its influenza season about six months ahead of the U.S. According to the examining of this year’s flu season in Australia, doctors warn patients to take precautions by getting vaccinated because it may be a severe season.
The number of flu cases in Australia in this flu season is four times as many as the previous five years’ average, and that of deaths doubles.
Situation in the U.S.
The predominant virus for the Southern Hemisphere was H3N2 – also blamed for the severe 2017-18 season in the U.S. that sickened 49 million people and killed nearly 80,000. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention called it the deadliest flu season in decades.
According to Dr. Ngozi Ezike, this year's flu vaccine was delayed as public health officials continued to determine which strains to include. It’s available now and anyone who is at least six months old should get one by the end of October. Though it's never too late, "the sooner the better."
Last year’s flu season was milder, especially compared with the previous year’s severe one. But this year you shouldn’t look down at it. Getting yourself and your child, if there is one, protected, is what you need to do.
“Flu hurts people; it hospitalized people, and it kills people. Really, you’re preventing hospitalization and death.” Said Dr. Michael Fitzgerald.