Local health experts of Australia say that one should consider about getting a flu shot sooner rather than later. In the month of October, the flu season typically begins. Paul Schulz, system epidemiologist for Norton Healthcare, said, “The flu season could come earlier, last longer and affect more people this year.” He and other health experts are basing their predictions on the ongoing flu season in Australia, which has been the country’s worst on record.
By the end of the first week of September, Health magazine reported that nearly 280,000 laboratory confirmed cases of influenza were reported to the Australian Department of Health. That’s an 18% increase over the country’s previous record of 229,000 cases in 2017. An estimated 48.8 million cases of the flu in 2017, were reported in U.S.A.
The Australian numbers might appear low for U.S.A. But the U.S.A population is also 13 times that of Australia. Paul Schulz, system epidemiologist for Norton Healthcare, said that he suggests getting the flu vaccine as soon as possible. And while the weather still feels like summer, flu season is just around the corner. The vaccines take several weeks to take full effect.
One case of the virus has already been confirmed in Lexington. During the 2018-19 season, 17,655 confirmed cases of influenza, and 189 people died as a result of the illness, according to the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services.
The Australian National Centre for Disease Control (CDC), states that the immunizations are especially important for those at a high risk for serious flu-related complications and those who live with or care for people at high risk, including:
- Children younger than 5 years, but especially those younger than 2 years.
- Pregnant women.
- People at the age of 65 years and Above.
- People of any age with certain chronic medical conditions.
- Residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities.