We could be in for a bad flu season.
We hear that a lot, but public health experts are warning that this year's flu vaccine may be only 10% effective against the main flu strain doctors are seeing.
Massachusetts, Georgia, Oklahoma and Louisiana are reporting widespread flu numbers so far, and what could make this season worse is that this flu strain, the H3N3, causes more inflammation than most viruses.
"This can get a lot of people into trouble, from the very young to the very old to the quite healthy people in that middle group," Dr. Cynthia Stuart of Diamond Physicians said. "So we can see a lot of pneumonia take place, unfortunately, for about two to eight weeks post-infection, the body gets so inflamed that the risk of heart attack actually increases from 2 to 5 percent. Also the increased risk of stroke is there, around 5 to 7 percent increased risk for about 2 to 8 weeks following the flu infection."
To protect yourself, the doctor does recommend still getting a flu shot. While it may not stop the flu ... If you do get sick, it might not be as bad.
Don`t share drinks, eating utensils, or phones with people who are sick. Avoid sick people ... And if you`re sick ... Avoid people.
And, of course wash your hands.