According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, this year’s flu season started early and has been deadly. As of Dec. 20, at least 15 children have died of the virus this year, which is a significant jump from the four deaths that occurred at the same time last year. Compounding the problem is the fact that current flu vaccinations on the market do not fully protect against this deadly new strain, known as A H3N2.
In addition, there are reported shortages of the most popular form of flu vaccine,Tamiflu. National drugstore chain CVS has reported that there are intermittent shortages of the liquid form of the drug but the large pill version is readily available. The flu rate per 100,000 has almost doubled this year from 4.3 percent last year to an estimated 9.7 percent, with children and the elderly being the most vulnerable. It is important to recognize the signs of the flu, which include:
Cough, sore throat, runny nose
Muscle aches, headache, fatigue
Nausea (more common in children)
The CDC is recommending that unvaccinated people get flu vaccines because they might provide protection and reduce severe outcomes such as hospitalization and death.