Doctors across North America are seeing a sharp rise in the number of flu cases already this year. This has caused some to sound the alarm that this year’s flu vaccine may be only 10 percent effective. The vaccine has already failed in Australia where doctors report it only stopped about 10 percent of flu cases.
Each year in February, the United States Food and Drug Administration and the World Health Organization each pick a strain that they think will be most prevalent in flu cases during the upcoming year. Then, manufacturers like Sanofi produce the vaccine for the upcoming flu season.
This year, the team may have picked the wrong strains as doctors are seeing a mutation of last year’s strain called the H3N2 strain. In other areas, doctors are seeing more H1N1 and B strain flus. Researchers say that part of the problem is that this strain may have mutated itself making the vaccine ineffective.
Researchers still urge that people get the flu vaccine because it is better than nothing. Over 140 million flu shots have already been given, but doctors urge that it is not too late to get your flu shot if you desire. Even if the flu shot is only 10 percent effective, that is still 1.40 million people who will not get the flu this year. They say that developing the right flu vaccine is a guessing game each year with so many different possibilities.
The flu has already claimed eight people’s lives in the United States. Two of those people lived in Oklahoma, five lived in North Carolina and one in Arizona. Much of New England and the South are already having localized outbreaks of the flu.
Doctors urge that if you have the flu, you stay home until you are free of fever for at least 24 hours to prevent others from catching it. Wash your hands frequently, so that you are not leaving the germs on any surfaces that you touch. Furthermore, make sure to cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze.