(NBC NEWS) – Researchers at Baylor College of Medicine study the pattern of the flu in the southern hemisphere to examine how it may affect us.
“There is every reason to expect that we could have a severe flu season this year,” said Dr. Robert Atmar, professor and interim chief of the section of infectious diseases at Baylor.
“This year I would predict that the major virus that will circulate is an influenza a H3N2. If that’s correct, that virus normally is associated with a lot more death, a lot more hospitalization,” Dr. Pedro Piedra, BCM pediatric infectious disease specialist, said.
There are currently very low levels of the flu, which means now is the time to be vaccinated.
The vaccine takes time to provide full protection and is recommended for everyone older than 6 months old, including pregnant women, who the shot is perfectly safe for. It protects them and will also pass their antibodies to the baby, which will help protect the newborns during the first six months of life.
Instead of the standard vaccine, it is recommended that people 65 years old and older get one of two vaccines: a higher dose vaccine or an adjuvant vaccine that is available for the first time in the United States this year. There is no preferred shot, just make sure to ask your doctor.
It is important to remember the nasal form of the vaccine is not recommended again this year because studies show it’s not effective against the most severe strain of flu.
Nothing is 100 percent, but getting the flu shot can severely lessen the symptoms and complications of the flu.
Flu season typically peaks between November and February.