It's flu season. Every year, influenza strains wreak havoc on public health. The flu can be deadly for those with immune system disorders, the elderly and very young children. Vaccines are engineered to try and cover as many strains as possible, but no immunization can protect against every virus since the germs get tougher and more resistant every year. 2017 was no exception. According to the CDC, the flu was close to epidemic levels at the end of the year. One strain, in particular, the influenza A subtype H3N2, was especially hard to contain.
While immunologists try to estimate when the flu will begin, peak and end, this year's flu season got a head start, beginning a month earlier than usual. This caught many unaware and unvaccinated. Coupled with the fact that the vaccine this year was not as comprehensive as other years and many are hacking and sneezing the winter away. Colder weather has impacted flu cases as well as record numbers of holiday travelers. Flu season has a ways to go before it's over so bundle up and stay as healthy as possible with hand washing, hydration and home remedies like chicken soup. It's not a medical certainty, but it tastes good.