5 things to know about this year’s Flu

Ethan Baer, Staff Writer


  1. Worst in a decade


This year’s influenza virus is the worst the United States has seen in over a decade. According to the US Centers for Disease and Control, 14,676 people have been hospitalized due to the flu since the season began in October. Many deaths have occurred, particularly among children and the elderly. Americans with the flu have been hospitalized at a rate of 51.4 per 100,000 people, making this season the worst in years.

  1. Flu Shot Effectiveness

This season’s flu shot is drastically more unsuccessful than in previous years. Multiple reports suggest that this year’s vaccine has a 10 percent success rate worldwide. A report from Vox states that whenever this year’s strain of the virus, H3N2, is dominant, the worldwide vaccine typically fails. Long before flu season begins, predictors guess which strand will be dominant that year. However, predictors this year guessed incorrectly, causing the vaccine to be ineffective against the actual flu strand that is present in the United States.

  1. When should you visit a hospital?

A person who has the flu should visit the hospital whenever they experience severe vomiting. Additionally, severe stomach and chest pain are signs that someone may need emergency treatment. High grade fevers are also a big indicator that you may need medical treatment. Adults with a fever of 103 degrees or higher should contact their doctor or visit a hospital immediately.

  1.  “Fever is your friend”

If somebody is experiencing flu-like symptoms, it is important to know that a fever is their friend; when a fever occurs, it indicates that your body is fending off a virus, causing your body temperature to rise. In this case, fevers are actually a good sign that the flu is being fought off by your body. However, if you are not experiencing fevers and have flu-like symptoms, this means that your body is not properly fighting the virus. Ultimately, if this occurs, you should see a doctor or visit the hospital. As mentioned above, you should also seek medical attention if your fever is too high, as that is also serious.

  1.  Science angle on this year’s virus

This year’s flu is the worst the world has seen in years due to many unfortunate circumstances. First off, the flu has been spread throughout the U.S. all at the same time, while the virus typically sweeps through regions at different times. Also, the virus started spreading right around November, just as people were interacting a lot during the holidays. This year’s strain, H3N2, is typically one of the most severe,with the infected experiencing high fevers and body aches. On top of this, the vaccine this year is relatively ineffective, causing people who have been vaccinated to still be infected by the virus. People are also leaving the virus alone by mistaking symptoms for pneumonia. This year’s flu virus is a legitimate threat to public health. People need to take their symptoms seriously.