Experts Warn That An Awful Flu Season Could Be On The Way In The US & This Is What You Need To Know

Ad failed to load

The icy chill and daylight-deficient specter of winter is bearing down on much of the United States, and with it comes the simultaneously dreaded and inevitable flu season. And it turns out that, this year, an awful flu season could be on the way. Which means that, among the U.S. population, coughing, runny noses, and sore throats are likely to be especially ubiquitous. At least, that's the conclusion a team of infectious disease doctors came to after analyzing the flu season in Australia, which just wrapped up. Yep, it was bad, and all signs indicate that the same will be true in the Northern Hemisphere as the year draws to an end.

Australia, as researchers pointed out in a perspective paper published in The New England Journal of Medicine Wednesday, experienced record-high influenza rates this year. This, as researchers suggest, is mostly likely due to the vaccine developed to combat the illness was a bad match for the strain of influenza that ultimately circulated, ABC News reported. So, the vaccine was reportedly only 10 percent effective in Australia this year, and because the vaccines there and in the United States have the "same compositions," professionals are predicting that Americans very well could be in for it as well, the outlet reported.

But, despite this issue, getting the flu shot is still better than not getting it. "However imperfect, though, current influenza vaccines remain a valuable public health tool, and it is always better to get vaccinated than not to get vaccinated," the team emphasized of the findings, according to ABC News.

Ad failed to load

By contrast, the flu vaccine from last season was 34 percent effective against the H3N2 strain of the virus — the same one shaping up to be the most prevalent this time around — and even that resulted in "widespread misery," as Melissa Healy of the The Los Angeles Times put it.

Still, the researchers who worked on the paper are far from decrying the importance of flu vaccinations. In fact, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and study author Dr. Anthony Fauci told The Los Angeles Times that a vaccine will prevent some people from getting sick, which is always a plus, as well as allow for those who do get sick to endure a shorter illness.

Ad failed to load

But the study's authors did offer an endorsement of a possible solution to the problem of mismatched vaccines and viruses: a universal flu vaccine. Such a vaccine would eliminate the need for professionals to have to try to anticipate which strains of the notoriously unpredictable flu will circulate in any given year, according to TIME magazine. That would mean that they would not have to create a vaccine based on oftentimes less-than-perfect projections, and also that Americans would not have to get vaccinated annually.


Such a solution could be quite a ways from becoming a reality, however, as even the most advanced of these universal flu vaccines are in the earliest stages of human testing, The Los Angeles Times reported. There are even some that are currently undergoing animal testing.

Ad failed to load

For now, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that children 6 months of age and older get a flu vaccine each year. After all, doing so is still a person's best line of defense against getting sick and to prevent getting others sick as well.

Besides hoping that you and your family are part of the lucky 10 percent for whom the flu vaccine will be effective and making sure to get a flu shot, there are a few actions you can take to minimize the anticipated horrors of the flu season. In addition to following the CDC's flu shot guidelines, knowing what medicines to take if you or your kid does get sick could really help. And, as always, it's a good idea to closely monitor potential flu symptoms and to see a doctor if they do begin to show themselves.

Check out Romper's new video series, Romper's Doula Diaries:

Ad failed to load

Watch full episodes of Romper's Doula Diaries on Facebook Watch.

Ad failed to load

Ad failed to load

Ad failed to load

Ad failed to load
Must Reads

Being A Dog Parent Prepared Me For Having A Baby, Really

I’ve always wanted kids; I was never as sure about raising a puppy. Then I spent six months living with someone who brought home an eight-week-old golden retriever puppy, and I see no way to make it out of that experience claiming not to love dogs. I…
By Heather Caplan

20 Of The Most Popular Unisex Names Of All Time, That You'll Be Hearing More Of For Sure

You might think of unisex names as a fairly recent trend, but the truth is these versatile monikers have been commonly used throughout history (well, some more commonly than others). That's why the team over at recently compiled a list of t…
By Jacqueline Burt Cote

How To Have A Date Night With No Babysitter, Because It's Easier Than You Think

After having children, many couples feel that their love lives immediately go out the window, but it's so important to make your romantic life a priority so both you and your partner can be the best versions of yourselves you can be. As we all know, …
By Abi Berwager Schreier

9 Ways Baby No. 3 Made My Family Feel Complete

My husband and I decided to have another baby right after we got married and, well, we had no idea what we were getting into. I got pregnant right away, endured a high-risk pregnancy, and, before I knew it, my third baby had arrived. Together, we emb…
By Steph Montgomery

8 Stereotypes About New Dads That Are *Totally* True

Much like new mothers, new fathers have a lot on their plate. Parenting can be scary and complex, especially at first and regardless of your gender. People want to do right by their kids, after all. And since all new parents are a hot mess, dads are …
By Priscilla Blossom

8 Differences Between Being Pregnant In Your 20s Vs 30s, According To Science

Whether you're planning a pregnancy, or just thinking about your future family, it's typical to think about things like child-spacing, how many kids you want, and when to start trying to conceive. When making your pro/con list, you might also conside…
By Steph Montgomery

16 Moms Share Remedies For Their Most Intense Chocolate Cravings During Pregnancy

For better or worse, pregnancy is usually synonymous with odd cravings. Sure, there are the stereotypical combos like pickles and ice cream that plague gestating women the world over, but there are other mind-boggling combinations, too, including but…
By Candace Ganger

Putting Sunscreen On Your Kid Doesn't Have To Be A Fight — Here's How To Do It

I am almost translucent, so me and sunscreen are basically besties at this point. Even though my children are beautifully deep brown thanks to my husband's genetics, I still slather them like biscuits being buttered because I refuse to take risks wit…
By Cat Bowen

7 Things A Mom Really Means When She Says She Doesn't Want Anything On Mother's Day

Every year my family asks me what I want for Mother's Day, and every single year I tell them the same thing: Nothing. So, by now, they know that when I say "nothing" I absolutely do not mean "nothing." In fact, there are more than a few things a mom …
By Candace Ganger

19 Moms Share The Way They Cured Their Pregnancy Comfort Food Cravings

I was obnoxiously sick during the first trimester with, "lucky" for me, both of my pregnancies. For the first three months I lived on saltines, lemonade, and fresh bread. Once I was able to eat, however, all I wanted was savory and sweet comfort food…
By Dina Leygerman

8 Fascinating Facts About Babies Born In May, The Luckiest Month Of All

The height of all things fresh and springy, May is an excellent month to have a baby. It's a time of growth, graduations, and outdoor celebrations. And these fascinating facts about May babies will give you more reasons than ever to appreciate childr…
By Lindsay E. Mack

I Used To Judge Formula-Feeding Moms — Until I Became One

The other patrons in the hip Brooklyn restaurant probably couldn’t care less what I was feeding my baby, but I’ll always remember the shame I felt as I quickly mixed up his bottle of formula in front of them. I admitted to my childless friend that I …
By Katherine Martinelli

7 White Lies It’s Necessary To Tell To Keep Your Relationship Healthy

Telling lots of lies typically isn't associated with a healthy, strong, lasting relationship, and that's still certainly true, but not all lies are exactly the same. Though you've probably heard from someone at least once or twice that the lie they t…
By Lauren Schumacker

The Skinny Jeans That Saved Me Postpartum

Accepting my post-pregnancy body is hands-down one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done. It’s something that I still work on every single day. During my first pregnancy, I was 20 years old, so I managed to bounce back quickly. In fact, I dropp…
By Allison Cooper

7 Ways Your Baby Is Trying To Say They Feel Safe

In those first weeks of new motherhood, it can feel like you need an interpreter for your newborn. With their limited means of communication, figuring out what message your baby is trying to get across to you can be a challenge. With time, however, y…
By Kimmie Fink

Here's Why Dogs Are Obsessed With Babies' Poop, According To Science

Most family dogs seem to understand babies, and they're more than happy to make friends with the newest member of the pack. It's adorable... for the most part and until you go to change your little one's diaper. Suddenly, you're wondering why dogs ar…
By Lindsay E. Mack

6 Signs You're Meant To Have A Big Age Gap Between Kids

There's a five year age difference between my two children, to the day. Their age gap wasn't planned but, for a variety of reasons, works well for our family. And since I was so focused on having a second baby, I totally overlooked the signs that wou…
By Candace Ganger

13 Unique (& Totally Not Mainstream) Mother's Day Gifts For The Hipster Mom

Hipsters thrive on being outside the norm and not really digging anything considered "mainstream." Whether it's in their fashion, what music they listen to, the books they read, or how they enjoy beverages, there's just something that makes them dist…
By Abi Berwager Schreier

Here's How To Introduce Your Pet To Your Baby & Make Everything As Calm As Possible

Our home, which we lovingly refer to as “the funny farm,” is filled with four-legged family members. We have two crazy beagles and two cat jerks, and boy are they loved and spoiled. (As they should be.) But we are now finally having a baby of our own…
By Abi Berwager Schreier

Here's The Right Birth Method For You, According To Your Zodiac Sign

If you're pregnant, you've probably given childbirth some serious thought. Some moms-to-be prepare a meticulous birth plan, while others are comfortable just going with the flow. And me? Well, I made a plan... but that plan was useless when faced wit…
By Steph Montgomery

My Dog Knew I Was Pregnant Before My Family Did

Growing up, I was 100 percent sure I'd be a mom one day. To a dog, that is. My baby plans came later. And once my husband and I were sure we wanted both a dog and a baby, we'd add to our joint dog-and-baby name list over Sunday brunch or on date nigh…
By Melissa Mills