What To Expect From The Upcoming 2023 Flu Season In The US
In Australia, where the winter season begins in June, the country is currently experiencing a more severe flu season than normal – with higher than usual numbers of flu cases reported and an increased level of hospitalizations. Australian authorities believe the increased severity of the flu season could be attributed to the number of younger Australians not getting an influenza vaccine. This might be because parents are prioritizing Covid vaccines over the flu shots for their kids. ### What Can We Learn From the Australian Flu Season? Many scientists and public health experts pay particular attention to the Australian flu season to see what the dominant flu strain is in circulation as well as use this information to forecast the severity of the upcoming flu season in the U.S. Based on the most recent reporting out of Australia, we can also expect a potentially severe flu season in the U.S. It is important to note that flu seasons can vary from year to year, and the severity of the flu season in Australia does not guarantee the same level of severity in the U.S. However, it does serve as a warning and highlights the need for increased awareness and preparation. To mitigate the impact of the flu, it is crucial for individuals to get vaccinated against the flu. The CDC recommends that everyone over the age of 6 months get a flu shot, which can be taken at the same time as a Covid booster. Most people should make plans to get vaccinated in September or October. While the effectiveness of the vaccine can vary depending on how well it matches the circulating strains, it still offers the best protection against the flu and can reduce the severity of the illness if contracted. It is especially important for high-risk individuals, such as the elderly and those with chronic health conditions, to get vaccinated. In addition to vaccination, other preventive measures such as frequent hand-washing, avoiding close contact with sick individuals, and practicing good respiratory hygiene (e.g., covering coughs and sneezes) should be followed. Employers and schools can also play a role in reducing the spread of the flu by encouraging sick individuals to stay home and implementing proper hygiene practices.
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