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Every flu season is different but there’s one thing you can count on: there will be one. Flu season in the U.S. can begin as early as October and continue into late May.
This flu season has been particularly bad, partially due to the dominant H3N2 strain that is circulating. Flu seasons dominated by this strain typically result in more severe disease and hospitalizations, especially among the very young and elderly. In past seasons, it is also the strain that the vaccine has lower effectiveness. You may have seen reports that this year’s flu shot may only be effective for 10 percent of the population. The New England Journal of Medicine reports that this year’s vaccine may have been mismatched for the strains that are spreading this year. But doctors still say you should get the vaccine if you haven’t yet done so.
Perhaps you’ve already noticed an uptick in coughing and sneezing on the train, in the office or at school. Curtis Mann, MD, Family Medicine at NorthShore, shares some top tips for keeping the flu from catching up with you and the rest of your family this season:
Do you make sure to get the flu vaccine every year?