Dr. Todd Harris

February 27, 2018 – At the end of last week, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services updated this years Influenza Surveillance reports.

Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

We’ve been watching this graph for a few weeks, and the most recent trend deserves more focus – how about a crop with some enlargement:

The report shows that there were fewer flu-like cases reported last week when compared to the previous week. That’s good news.

A Welcomed Downward Trend But Still Lots of Flu

Keep in mind – we are still seeing a lot of cases of flu – a significant drop in the number of cases is a good thing but it doesn’t mean flu season is over.

Is It Too Late to Get My Child a Flu Vaccine?

This question still comes up and here are a few points about flu vaccine:

  • I have to begin with this: The best time to get the flu vaccine is before flu season (duh) but not so early that it loses its effectiveness before the end of flu season. October is an ideal month for getting your flu vaccine (I always think holidays are a good way to remember so try to get your flu vaccine before Halloween).
  • We seem to be on the other side of the peak but there are still weeks to months left of this flu season – if you can find someone who still has flu vaccine – there is little downside and still some potential upside to getting a flu vaccine even though its almost March.
  • Note: RCAM still has flu vaccine for all children 6 months to under 3 years old.

How Effective is This Year’s Flu Vaccine?

  • There has been much talk of the effectiveness of this year’s flu vaccine and this is what the CDC is reporting as of February 3, 2018: “overall the seasonal flu vaccine [given for the 2017-2018 flu season] reduced the risk of getting sick and having to go to the doctor from flu by about one third.”
  • The flu vaccine experts try to shoot higher than one third, but when the choice is depending on one’s own natural immunity vs. that natural immunity plus 33% – most would take the latter.
  • So there you go: 1 in 3 people helped by the flu vaccine – not a great year but still a significant tangible benefit.