Flu season has arrived, and this year is expected to be one of the worst in recent memory. Health officials say this year’s flu vaccine is, at best, only 23 percent effective. Typically, flu shots reduce a person’s chance of getting sick by about 60 percent. H3N2, the most potent strain of flu virus this year, morphed after the vaccine was developed, rendering it largely ineffective. Flu season most commonly peaks between December and February. Here’s a look at how the virus spreads, how vaccines are formulated and how you can keep healthy.
Influenza, like Ebola or the measles, is a viral disease. Viruses lurk in our environment, waiting for an appropriate host. They can enter the body through the nose, mouth or cuts. Once inside, they begin what’s called the lytic cycle to replicate and infect the carrier.