We May Finally Be Turning the Corner on the Flu Epidemic

20 February, 2018, 20:18 | Author: Clint Gray
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The CDC says the flu can peak as early as mid November and as late as March. The FDA is committed to working together with the scientific and medical communities to better protect the public against the flu and apply lessons learned to next season's flu vaccines.

Many experts concluded that this was why the 2012-2013 season vaccine did not work very well and suspect the same was true of this year's relatively inadequate shot.

The influenza virus changes or mutates every year, which makes it very hard to create a vaccine.

But half of the children hospitalized with influenza this flu season did not have any of the underlying chronic conditions that make children susceptible to complications from influenza, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and that is not unusual. Whether it's peaking or not, flu season is still expected to last several more weeks.

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This year's flu shot was created to protect against influenza A/H3N2/Hong Kong, A/H1N1/Michigan and B/Brisbane.

The leading health officials insist that even with current vaccine effectiveness estimates, vaccination will still help prevent influenza illness, including thousands of hospitalizations and deaths.

Every year, scientists gather and try to divine which strains will be predominant in the coming season.

Osterholm's colleagues who are older than 65 opted for the vaccines Fluad and Flublok for the 2017-18 season, he told STAT. Get regular exercise, the daily recommended amount of sleep, stay hydrated at all time, eat a well-balanced diet, and take steps to reduce and manage any stress you may be going through. To prepare for each flu season, the FDA has a key role in selecting the strains to be included in the annual vaccine.

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Instead, the human immune system seems to pick up on the presence of a flu strain - from either the vaccine or the flu itself - and respond as if it were whatever the first strain it encountered had been.

"This is a direct response to last year's horrific flu season, which had a devastating impact around the world, and aimed squarely at saving lives", Mr Hunt said in a statement. Since the flu shot is only 36% effective, according to the CDC, patients are looking for alternatives. Those who received the normal "three strain" vaccine are not protected.

Under-65s can continue to receive the regular trivalent influenza vaccine.

Once the strains are selected, the FDA produces materials in our laboratories that are critical for making the vaccine. New vaccines grown without eggs, either in insect cells or dog kidney cells, are much less prone to developing mutations that can make them less protective against the flu.

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"It is important to note that the flu vaccines are inactive viruses".


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