After two straight years of the flu causing only a wave, our luck might finally turn around this year.
Experts warn that the flu season has been particularly bad in the southern hemisphere, where winter will soon be coming to an end. And many suspect that what happened below is likely to happen to us this fall and winter.
Australia has just had its worst flu season in five years, with more than three times the normal number of cases. Also, the flu peaked a few months earlier than usual.
Dr. John Brownstein, epidemiologist at Boston Children’s Hospital, tells ABC News:
“Obviously it’s not a perfect 1-on-1 game but more often than not the severity of the flu season in Australia is a good correlate of what we might expect, and that helps us to prepare ourselves.”
New Zealand also recorded its worst flu season in two years.
The threat of a severe flu season is particularly troubling at a time when COVID-19 continues to circulate in the country and around the world.
Because the flu has been so mild in recent years, our bodies may not be ready for it. Dr. Jennifer Nayak, pediatric infectious disease specialist at the University of Rochester Medical Center, told CNN:
“With these few consecutive mild flu seasons, I think population immunity is probably lower than it is going into an average flu season.”
If you’re concerned about the potential impact of the flu this year, one of your best defenses is to get your annual flu shot. And if you’re 65 or older, it might be beneficial to get one of three specific vaccines. Learn more in “3 Flu Vaccines Recommended for Seniors.”
Looking for another reason to get your flu shot? See “Can a flu shot protect you against serious illness from COVID-19?” »
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