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Deadly Flu Strain 2017-2018 - H3N2

Author: Dr. William Rappaport
Date: February 2018

Woman with Flu

The flu this year is considered to be at an epidemic level. 90% of the flu cases involve a strain called H3N2. According to CDC there are 31 per 100,000 people hospitalized due to this strain.

The most vulnerable people are the elderly, immunocompromised people, and children this year. To date 30 children have died from the flu. It is not certain whether they have been vaccinated or not, but in previous years 85% of flu deaths were in patients who did not receive the vaccine, according to the CDC.

Why is this years strain so severe?

According to the CDC, 46 states have reported outbreaks compared to 12 states at this time last year. The strain of H3N2 is more severe and causes more complications than other strains, therefore we are seeing a higher rate of complications and hospitalizations. For scientists who must predict the virus’s strain each year for the manufacturing of vaccines, a study reports that vaccine is traditionally less effective for the H3N2 than other strains. This does not mean one should not be vaccinated. The importance of getting the vaccine should be top priority in helping to prevent the flu along with some come sense hygienic routines.

The flu is as a very severe respiratory infection that can make your life miserable for up to two weeks. The analogy to a cold is that a cold is a lit match and the flu is a fire burning out of control. Not every cough or fever is influenza and these infections cannot be protected by a vaccine.

Real influenza can be protected by vaccines. This happens by causing antibodies to develop in the body about two weeks after taking the vaccine. These antibodies induce protection against specific flu virus's prevalent in the community. How effective the vaccine is varies with the season and the vaccine match to common strains of influenza circulating the globe. It protects against serious symptoms of influenza including high fever, cough, severe malaise, fatigue, and even post viral depression. The vaccine protects against severe illness such as pneumonia and subsequent hospitalization which can occur in the very young less than five years of age, people older than 65, and those with a compromised immune system. Unfortunately, about 30,000 people die every year in this country. Many of these deaths could be prevented by vaccination.

 

Get Vaccinated Early

If you go to school, participate in daycare, visit malls or movie theaters, take subways and buses or just hang out with family and friends I recommend you get vaccinated as early as possible starting in September. If this is not possible get one as soon as you can. It’s never too late!

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