Here’s what makes this season rougher than usual: Before each flu season, experts try to predict the kinds of virus that will circulate, so drug companies can produce vaccines with components to combat them. But the most recent tests — done after this year’s vaccine was developed — found that more than half the H3N2 viruses are different from the vaccine component.
As a result, the current flu vaccine will likely be less effective, though it’s still recommended to combat the other strains. But the CDC expects more hospitalizations and the need for anti-viral medications like Tamiflu and Relenza. CDC director Thomas Frieden has said anti-viral drugs “aren’t a substitute for vaccine. But [they are] an important second line of defense … and this year treatment with anti-viral drugs is especially important.”
And of course, anyone who comes down with the flu should stay home from work.
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