If you felt like this past year was a miserable flu season, you are correct.
In fact, it was classified in the “high severity” category,
according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
-- ranking as one of the worst for hospitalizations and flu-related deaths
Last season’s flu vaccine was about 36 percent effective overall,
but only 25 percent against the predominant viruses from the H3N2 subtype
of influenza A. Here is what is new and different for 2018-2019:
- This season’s influenza vaccine will include a different H3N2 component
-- one that has performed better against recent viruses.
- On August 1, Louisiana passed a new law that requires schools to provide
information to parents during flu season – including the risks,
causes and symptoms of the flu, and the availability and effectiveness
of immunizations against the flu.
- The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends pediatricians give children
the flu shot, using FluMist as a last resort for those who would otherwise
not receive a flu vaccine. This represents a change from the previous
two flu seasons when LAIV -- given by intranasal spray to healthy patients
ages 2 through 49 -- was not recommended in any setting.
Even in years of low effectiveness, the flu vaccine is still the best protection
against the illness, according to the CDC. The estimated number of flu
illnesses prevented by flu vaccination during the 2016-2017 season was
Discuss flu vaccine options – including the best timing – with
your doctor. While flu season unofficially starts in October, the first
round of the vaccines will start reaching healthcare providers this month.
Eric Frusha, MD
Louisiana Internal Medicine Associates
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