Hello and happy hump day, readers.
The leaves are turning, the chill is coming, and, sure enough, the influenza virus is plotting its annual attack.
Flu season is a simple matter of life. It’s also a notoriously difficult-to-predict public health nuisance once the seasons turn. But the (very) early indications suggest the coming onslaught could prove… Unpleasant.
Again, this is all guesswork (perhaps the most infuriating part of fighting the flu, which has multiple, ever-shifting pathogenic avatars). But there are some initial concerns based on the nasty flu season our Australian friends in the Southern Hemisphere, who grapple with flu season about six months earlier than us Northerners, experienced recently.
Of particular concern is that the deadly H3N2 flu virus variant, which led to one of the deadliest flu seasons in America between 2017 and 2018, was the driving factor in Australia’s cases. Things could turn out differently in the U.S., but it’s still cause for concern, according to some public health officials.
There are a few ways to combat the flu. Wash your hands. Stay away from people who seem sick (and don’t go into work if you’re sick yourself). And, most importantly… Get your flu shot.
The virus’ very nature makes it difficult to construct an effective vaccine since they have to be created in bulk before experts even know which strain is most problematic—but public health officials consistently agree it’s the most effective way to protect both yourself and others from a nasty, and potentially deadly, illness.
Read on for the day’s news.
Sy Mukherjee, @the_sy_guy, email@example.com