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The coming flu season may be tough.Reasons | Health

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The coming flu season may be terrible.

Despite the devastating impact of the coronavirus on the world’s population and the deaths of 3.7 million people worldwide, doctors and public health officials have found that something else is missing. Was almost nonexistent.

In the United States, one child died of the flu this year. From 2019 to 2020, there were 199 child influenza-related deaths and 144 in the previous season. Influenza cases usually count in the tens of millions, Occupied thousands This year is America.

“Full wasn’t anywhere except rational activity in West Africa,” said Richard Webby, an influenza expert at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital (Memphis).

“No one has seen it. This includes countries that have locked down. They also include countries that have never locked down. They also include countries that have had good control over the pandemic. It includes countries that aren’t doing the right job, “Webby told CNN.

The reason is not entirely clear. Many experts believe that the measures taken to control the coronavirus have prevented the spread of the flu. It is possible that the coronavirus has somehow defeated or interfered with the flu.

In any case, Webby and other experts believe that the temporary decline in influenza activity is temporary. They are worried that they will probably take revenge this fall when the flu comes back.

“The worst flu season we’ve ever experienced may come,” Webby said.

Epidemiologist Aubrey Gordon, who studies influenza at the University of Michigan School of Public Health, agreed that “when it comes back, it will be a terrible season.”

Human behavior can explain one of the reasons why the upcoming flu season is likely to be bad. Those who are tired of lockdowns, wearing masks, and staying away from others will want to celebrate the freedom provided by vaccines that protect themselves from the decline of the coronavirus and pandemics.

Travel is already on the rise, restaurants are filling up again, and the school plans to reopen with face-to-face lessons.

However, while people gathering at resorts, bars, and family gatherings may be much safer against the coronavirus, they are not safe against the flu and other respiratory viruses that spread in the same way as the coronavirus. ..

“I think the number of common respiratory infections seen seasonally will definitely increase as more people don’t wear masks and don’t get enough social distance,” said the epidemic of infections in the United States. Allison Aiello, who is studying the disease, said. The University of North Carolina School of Public Health told CNN.

Respiratory illness is already on the rise in North Carolina, Aiello said.

“Especially in the fall, we have to expect some increase as the children come back to school,” she said.

Spread the virus in the school

“It’s not just the flu, it’s all other respiratory viruses,” Webby said. These include not only influenza, but also respiratory syncytial or respiratory syncytial virus, adenovirus, coronavirus strains that cause colds, and rhinovirus.

“When the mitigations we are implementing against the new coronavirus are effective, children return to school and we start traveling again, especially internationally, of all kinds. We know that respiratory viruses are much more likely to cause infections, and they will spread, “Lynette Brammer, who heads the National Influenza Monitoring Team at the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention, told CNN.

“And I’m definitely hoping that the flu and other respiratory viruses that were declining last year will come back again,” she added.

“In a sense, we’re back to normal. When we start collecting children, we get infected with the virus.”

However, Brammer is cautious about making predictions.

“Influenza is always unpredictable, but now I feel more true than ever,” Brammer said.

There is a second reason to think that the 2021-2022 flu season can be a bad season. Although not well documented, there is a theory that the body’s immune response is naturally enhanced by repeated exposure to viruses such as influenza each year. These exposures are not sufficient to make people sick. It may be, but it’s enough to remind you that the immune system maintains its defenses.

“The longer you don’t expose, the more likely you are to get symptoms and get sick,” Gordon said.

“We know that the longer you don’t get the flu, the worse your symptoms will be. People who are ill can be more severe. We know it completely.”

The same is true for respiratory syncytial virus, coronaviruses other than Covid-19, and other infectious diseases. “I would generally be worried about all of them. They can all cause serious illness. They can all cause pneumonia,” Gordon added.

RSV is especially damaging to babies and young children. An estimated 100-500 children and 14,000 adults die each year, most of them over the age of 65.

Many of the approximately 4 million babies born during a pandemic will be exposed to RSV and other viruses for the first time when they first enter the nursery. “We don’t know what the impact will be on all these young children who delay their initial exposure to the RS virus,” Gordon said.

“Probably a very large respiratory syncytial epidemic will occur.”

Aiello is less confident about the possible effects of avoiding bacteria for a year or so. “This is a short period of time,” she said. Avoiding exposure for several years may help, but most people stay socially distant, work from home, or leave the classroom. The 15 months I spent there may not have been long enough to affect the immune system.

Packed with two years’ worth of virus in one

But even if this is not the case, the fall respiratory flu season can be exacerbated, Aiello said. Many children were exposed to two years’ worth of various viruses. You’ll pack your time into one season.

“If an individual hasn’t been ill for a while, it may appear to be experiencing stronger symptoms,” she said.

Influenza is the only virus that can be measured. Doctors do not test for most of the other respiratory viruses, but most of the time, because there is no specific cure for them, the CDC is tracking the flu.

According to the CDC, influenza kills 12,000 to 61,000 people annually, depending on the season.

The 2019-2020 season is a mild season, with 38 million people in the United States getting the flu, 18 million seeing medical institutions for treatment, 400,000 hospitalized for illness, and an estimated 22,000. A person died.

According to the CDC, about 8% of the US population gets the flu each season, between 3% and 11% depending on the season.

Much depends on how many Americans are vaccinated. The CDC recommends that almost everyone over the age of 6 months be vaccinated against the flu each year, but less than half of the population receives the flu vaccine each year.

One thing the CDC knows for sure is that it is impossible to predict influenza activity.

“I don’t know what to expect. I don’t know,” Brammer said. “We just have to wait and see.”

Brammer has seen all seasons of the flu for decades, each unique.

“Every time I think I know what’s going to happen, it will do something completely different,” she said.

The views and opinions expressed here are those of the artist and do not necessarily reflect the views of this publication. Click to see details.

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