Flu season is right around the corner, but don’t worry — here’s some tips on the upcoming season and what you should do to prepare.
“In Australia right now, they’re just getting through with their winter season, so it kind of is a good predictor of what our flu season will be like in the U.S. And they’ve had a terrible, record-breaking flu season,” said Immunization Coordinator Lacey McNichols.
Last year, there were more than 7,900 reported cases of the flu in North Dakota. First District Health Unit estimates only 40 percent of people get the vaccine.
Tracking the disease during flu season helps scientists predict what to put in the vaccine, which can be difficult.
“Like to use an example as a seatbelt. A seatbelt offers you the best protection. Doesn’t always save your life in a car accident, but it’s still better than not using it. Same with the flu vaccine, even though it’s not 100-percent effective, some kind of protection would help you from getting severely sick, getting hospitalized and even death,” said McNichols.
Last flu season, there were 394 deaths related to the flu, according to North Dakota Department of Health. This year’s flu vaccine was released at the end of August.
The Centers for Disease Control recommends people get vaccinated by October. But here in North Dakota, the season peaks late. So is October the best time?
“Every month there is a 16- to 18-percent drop in immunity during the season. So, particularly in people in the elderly there is a risk that towards the end of the season that immunity would have dropped that they can also be at risk of getting influenza. But one good thing, is even when such people get influenza, they are not as sick as people who didn’t get the influenza vaccination,” said Infectious Disease Specialist Casmiar Nwaigwe.
And there is something else you should know about getting the vaccine:
“And you cannot get influenza from getting the vaccination. That’s for…take it from me, you cannot get influenza from getting the vaccination,” said Nwaigwe.