SALT LAKE CITY — October marks the beginning of the flu season, and this season may be more brutal than the last five.
With the southern hemisphere’s flu season occurring opposite of North America’s, experts can often judge what kind of flu season the United States will have before it comes, according to Pamela Davenport, communications manager at the Salt Lake County Health Department.
Davenport said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) monitor the flu year round, and this year, Australia saw the toughest season they’ve had in five years.
According to the CDC, flu viruses are constantly changing, so it’s not abnormal for new viruses to develop.
The CDC recommends everyone older than six months to get a flu vaccine, which they report is the most effective preventive measure against the virus.
- Get plenty of sleep
- Eat nutritious food
- Avoid close contact with sick people
- Avoid touching eyes, nose or mouth
- Wash your hands
- Drink plenty of fluids
- Cover your mouth and nose
This year, the Salt Lake County Health Department is offering a quadrivalent vaccine that catches the four main flu strains that are circulating this year.
In addition to getting a flu vaccination, there are preventive measures people can take to avoid getting sick this season.
“We always advocate that people wash their hands up to their elbow, cover their faces and not go to work or school if you have the flu,” Davenport said.
Last year, more than 100 children died from the flu virus in the United States, and 90 percent of them didn’t receive a vaccination.