RI Dept. of Health: Now is Time to Protect Yourself from Flu
By: Tim Studebaker
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) – With the changing seasons, come changing health concerns. As fall approaches, so does flu season.
Joseph Wendelken, Public Information Officer with the Rhode Island Department of Health says the time to protect yourself is right now.
Wendelken says, "Everyone older than 6 months of age should get a flu shot every single year. The reason that's important is because every year we see different strains of the flu."
Doctor Ali Raja from Mass. General Hospital agrees. He says to expect a moderate to severe flu season.
Dr. Raja says, "Because in Australia, the flu season peaked a month or two before it normally does, so I've been telling people September, mid-to late September, is the right time to start getting your flu shot."
Experts here in the US rely on the Australian flu season to help them develop the vaccine we get.
Wendelken says, "Looking at how they experience their flu season, we try to project what kinds of strains we're going to see circulating."
This year's vaccine will provide protection against three strains of the flu virus, one of them with a very familiar name after an outbreak back in 2009: H1N1, the Swine Flu.
Wendelken says, "No one had immunity to that H1N1 strain at that point, so now every year since, H1N1 is included in the vaccine. So, as a community and as individuals now, we're starting to build up some immunity to that strain."
If you're concerned about getting vaccinated too early, and running out of protection later on, it's specifically designed to work through the peak of the season.
Those vaccines are available now.
© WLNE-TV / ABC6 2019