The flu season is here, and typically lasts through March. So far, the flu rates have been low, with many states reporting on either no flu activity (cases) or only localized cases.
One interesting note about this year: the flu vaccine is actually a good match for the exact flu strains currently circulating!
There is a really interesting article on how the vaccine strains are selected by the CDC:
"Each year, the seasonal influenza vaccine contains three influenza virus strains – one influenza A (H3N2) virus, one influenza A (H1N1) virus, and one influenza B virus. The influenza virus strains in the vaccine are selected each year based on (surveillance-based) forecasts about what virus strains are most likely to cause illness in the coming season. Therefore, each year’s vaccine is designed to protect against the influenza viruses expected to cause disease during that influenza season." The selection process must occur early in the year, as it takes about 6 months for the vaccines to be manufactured in large quantities.
Do you recall the previous years' flu vaccine (2004, I think?) that did not protect against the actual circulating flu strains, and this caused a widespread controversy regarding the effectiveness of vaccines in general, and the influenza vaccine in particular?! The vaccine strains were said to be "mismatched" with the circulating strains, and unfortunately, more flu cases (and deaths) were reported that year, demonstrating the effectiveness of the flu vaccine during years that it is correctly matched, as the flu cases and deaths are decreased.
Some people choose to take an antiviral drug, most notably Tamiflu, which has been helpful in reducing the duration of flu symptoms in many individual (when taken within first 48 hours of symptoms). THIS YEAR may be different, as the primary circulating virus (H1N1), is proving resistant to Tamiflu. It may be too early to tell, and there are other antiviral drugs (and combinations of drugs/supplements) if you are interested in speaking with your doctor about reducing the duration of your symptoms.
Has your town or city been effected by the flu yet?
All user-generated information on this site is the opinion of its author only and is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment for any medical conditions. Members and guests are responsible for their own posts and the potential consequences of those posts detailed in our Terms of Service.