According to a Popular Science article published this month, Americans should expect a tough flu season -- and an early one. While the article admits that scientists and doctors struggle to predict flu seasons each year, general consensus indicates that the 2017 - 2018 flu season will be a significant one. Read on to learn why experts are making such predictions, and what you can do to try and stay well.
Popular Science indicates that how flu virus trends play out in the southern hemisphere help predict how the virus will spread in the States -- and Australia is suffering.
According to the article, by mid-October, Australia reported over 200,000 cases of the flu. In 2009, they had under 60,000 cases.
Even in the United States, where flu season starts later, early activity has experts worried. According to the same article, there’s been a sizable jump in flu-like illness symptoms this fall. This metric, known as “influenza-like illness”, helps experts gauge the upcoming flu season. Fevers and coughs are two examples of influenza-like illness symptoms.
While the metric cannot tell experts about flu severity, it helps them better understand whether its widespread. An infographic in the article shows just how rampant reports of flu-like symptoms were in late November 2017 as compared to previous years.
And while that gives experts plenty of reason to worry, they maintain that flu season is relatively unpredictable. According to the article, sometimes a season looks like it’s going to be really catastrophic, but it just peaks early and then levels off.
Another alarming concern: 2017’s flu vaccine protects from a strain of flu virus that’s popping up only 10% of the time, at least in Australia. That doesn’t mean Americans should skip your flu shot -- but it does mean that even those who vaccinate are not guaranteed immunity.
All living stateside should prepare for this flu season as if they will come down with the flu.
You can get a flu shot at your doctor’s office, but you needn’t make an appointment if it inconveniences you. Most pharmacies -- and even some grocery stores -- offer the vaccine, which insurance usually covers.
You can use this CDC tool to locate where to receive a flu vaccine in your area.
In addition to a flu vaccine, there are other steps you can take to boost your immunity this flu season. At EZC Pak, these are the four tenants we really drive home:
Travelers should take extra precautions to keep their immune systems performing, including wiping down tray tables before dining and adjusting to new time zones gradually.
Another important fact: antibiotics do not treat the flu -- or colds. Antibiotics treat bacterial infections. The flu is a viral infection, which means that antibiotics won’t help you feel better faster, and could put you and others at risk instead.A supplement with echinacea, vitamin C, and zinc can also help reduce cold- and flu-like symptoms. Our award-winning EZC Active Pak is great for travel and times of stress.
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