(KIAH) — The U.S. may need to be prepared for an early start to flu season this year, according to data released by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) this month.
The good news? The data also suggests that this year’s flu shot is doing a good job keeping people out of the hospital.
Experts generally recommend getting a flu shot by the end of October.
Internal medicine physician Carol Nwelue with Baylor Scott and White Hospital explained the medical field looks to the Australian flu season, which happens before ours, to predict what will happen in North American countries.
Her prognosis? It’s not looking good with more kids getting sick.
“Unfortunately, things aren’t looking good in Australia. They had a pretty heavy flu season, and about 76% of the patients that needed to be admitted were children, 9 years and under. So, we’re really looking closely at our kids this flu season,” she said.
While infection rates may be an ominous indicator for the U.S. the data surrounding this year’s flu shot is hopeful. The CDC indicated this year’s shot reduced overall hospitalizations by 50 percent in adults and 70 percent for children.