If you have been following the news lately, you might have noticed headlines warning that influenza risk is especially high this flu season - having already resulted in a significant number of hospitalizations and deaths. What’s more, experts are saying influenza is likely to result in more hospitalizations and deaths as we have not yet reached “peak season.”
According to CBC News, this year’s flu strain, H3N2, tends to cause more severe illness, particularly in children and older people, as well as those with compromised immune systems. CBC reports that in Canada so far in 2017-2018, 68% of hospitalizations from the flu have been in people over the age of 65.
For those who are not well-versed in the scientific jargon that can accompany warnings about flu season, it can be difficult to recognize what makes this flu season worse than previous ones. As a result, headlines warning of an impending flu catastrophe can be alarming, leading to concern about what can be done.
The good news is, despite which flu strain is most prevalent in any given year, the measures taken to protect against flu remain the same. Taking precautions such as getting the flu vaccine not only protect you, but can also help protect vulnerable people in the community. Other safeguards, such as handwashing and remaining home from work when ill can also be taken.
With some months to go until the end of winter, it’s not too late to protect yourself, your family and your community against the flu.
Find out more about influenza, its consequences, and the importance of flu vaccination through experts on the International Federation on Ageing's Expert Centre. Just click one of their icons to arrange an interview.
Dr. E. David G. McIntosh Honorary Clinical Senior Lecturer
Dr E. David G. McIntosh is an Australian paediatrician, Vaccinologist and Infectious Disease Specialist.
Dr. Luis M. Gutierrez Robledo Director General
Dr. Gutiérrez is a Mexican scholar trained in France in geriatric medicine and the biology of aging
Dr. Endre Ludwig Medical Doctor
Medical Doctor at the Semmelweis Medical University and specializes in Internal Medicine, Clinical Pharmacology and Infectology
Dr. Lan Philp Deputy Medical Director
Dr. Philp joined Heart of England NHS Foundation on 7 July as Deputy Medical Director for Older People