Flu Season Is On The Way, Predict Long Duration, Get Ready Now

Oct 04 2018

Flu Season Is On The Way, Predict Long Duration, Get Ready Now

Flu season is on the way folks, and it’s time to get prepared and ready. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), 80,000 people died of flu last winter in the United States, the highest death toll in 40 years!

The length of the flu season may vary depending on where you live, with large cities enduring longer periods of transmission and smaller cities experiencing shorter, but more explosive, spread, a new study suggests.

The study asserts that in less populous places, flu needs the right atmospheric conditions to spread effectively. In large cities, those conditions don’t matter quite as much.

The finding suggests a one-size-fits-all approach to flu season preparedness won’t work.

If the study is correct, small centers should work on surge capacity, namely, their ability to handle a lot of sick people over a short period of time. Larger cities, on the other hand,  should find ways to reduce transmission, said Jacco Wallinga, an expert on infectious diseases modeling at the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment in the Netherlands.





Flu: Very Unpredictable

The flu is unpredictable. As hard as the CDC tries to make plans and predictions, scientists describe the disease as humbling.

The flu virus is transmitted through droplets of saliva or mucus that can only travel short distances. Also, through aerosols, which can hang in the air longer. In large cities, where people are more densely packed, transmission of the virus is more rapid.
In the Northern Hemisphere, flu surges from late autumn through late winter, and sometimes even into the Spring.
But, again, in some years the peak occurs over Christmas and other times it will come in late February or even March.

One theory is that time spent indoors during the winter, when the immune systems are less than robust, is  a factor.

In any event, regardless of where you live, make plans right now to get vaccinated against this years flu strains. Keep in mind, that it does take approximately two weeks, for the vaccine to build up your antibodies. Therefore, now is the time to call your doctor and make that appointment.

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Barry G

Barry graduated from City University of New York and holds a Ph.D. in Physiological Psychology.

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