The flu season is understandably scary for most parents. No parent wants to watch their child suffer and spend so many days out of school, not to mention the flu is not fun to deal with. But with the help of the flu shot, parents can worry just a bit less. Because of this, it's pretty nice to hear that this year's flu season may be less severe because of the flu vaccine, proving how helpful the flu shot can really be.
The achey bones, sore muscles, and high fever sickness comes back every winter time with a vengeance. And every single year, it seems worse and worse. No matter how many surfaces that parents seem to spray with disinfectant and no matter how many times that parents insist on having their kids wash their hands, the flu seems to infiltrate every school and home.
The 2018-2019 flu season has been no different — it has caused schools across the nation to close to avoid further contamination and has sent thousands of people to the hospital, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But, things are looking up and the CDC has some good news to report from this flu season. This year, the flu shot has been more effective at preventing the flu then last year, according to TODAY.
To put this into perspective, this year the flu shot has been 47 percent effective against the H1N1 strain whereas this time last year, the shot was only 36 percent effective against the season's dominant strain, according to TODAY. And that is a remarkable difference.
It's important to note that this doesn't mean that this flu season isn't any less serious than in years past. People shouldn't take this lightly by any means and should still continue to protect themselves. But, this effectiveness is a "solid number" that shows that people who received the flu shot this year have a strong chance at being protected against it. And here is a statistic that parents will really love — the vaccine has reduced pediatric doctor visits by 61 percent, according to CBS News (which means less time spent in an germ-filled waiting room at the doctor's office).
While this might be the best news yet, it's imperative to note that while this is great news, these numbers are bound to change by the end of the season and even take a turn for the worse. Dr. Brendan Flannery of the CDC explained to CBS News:
Numbers can change between now and the end of the season. The important thing is this vaccine is providing some protection against the viruses that are circulating.
So, parents still need to remain cautious about the flu season. Especially since the flu has been responsible for between 9,600 and 16,000 deaths this year and 28 pediatric deaths, according to ABC 7 Detroit. Although it may seem a certain way, no one is "in the clear" with the flu. Even if this season is a lot more mild because of the flu shot's efficacy, according to Popular Science.
So, everyone still needs to be doing their best to make sure that they are avoiding catching the flu at all possible costs. This means staying indoors when you're sick, avoiding contact with those who appear they are sick, and washing hands to avoid the spread of germs, according to the CDC.
And it's not too late to get a flu shot, either, according to CBS News. As long as the flu is still circulating, people can still get vaccinated — even if they did wait until February to finally get their shot (no judgement here). Although this season might be a little more mild than last year, it is far from over.