The seasonal flu vaccine has arrived in all of our clinics. The WHO and CDC collect data from May-September and analyze the circulating influenza virus strains around the world. Since it is winter in the Southern Hemisphere, other countries are able to identify the types of influenza virus strains that are causing most of the illnesses. This information gives us a clue about what to expect for our upcoming winter and flu season.
Influenza or “the flu” is highly contagious and kills healthy children and adults every year. Each year, an average of 20,000 children under age 5 are hospitalized due to influenza complications. For travelers, getting influenza is one of the most common illnesses that occur while away from home. Crowded airplanes, trains, and buses are breeding grounds for the flu. Our clinic has seen a few cases of influenza this season already.
I always highly recommend getting the flu vaccine at least 2 weeks before the trip. All children and adults over 6 months should be getting the flu vaccine every year. It is best to get the flu vaccine EARLY in the fall season, before getting exposed to the flu. People often forget that you can get the flu ANYWHERE, and even in warm, tropical locations year-round. Getting the flu vaccine will not only provide the best protection against a miserable illness but also help to protect those around you and your community!