Thursday, August 23, 2018

When is the flu season?

The flu illness is caused by influenza viruses. People are more likely to get flu between October and April. The worst months for infection in the northern hemisphere are December through March. Scientists are not completely sure why this flu “flu season” exists every year but they have a few ideas.

First, the flu virus survives better in cool and wet weather. It is possible that the viruses can survive longer outside a person’s body, as when they are sneezed out, when the weather is cool. Also, the people tend to crowd together during the colder months. Flu viruses have short distances to travel because windows are tightly shut. Many holidays also take place during the colder months of the year.

According to Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, if peak influenza activity is an accurate measure, flu viruses prefer the weather either cold and dry or humid and rainy, according to an analysis of climate variables and flu patterns around the world. Researchers from several US universities and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) reached this conclusion primarily by studying flu and climate data from 78 sites in 40 countries. Sponsored in part by the NIH, the study was led by geographer James D. Tamerius, PhD, of Columbia University as first author.

Second, wherever people gather to celebrate, the festivity can become a party for viruses, too. They can easily move from person to person in a crowded space.

But people can get the flu any time of year especially due to the number of people who travel around the world. Influenza viruses exist around the world. People may carry the viruses with them when they travel, exposing fellow travelers regardless of the time of year.

In the United States, the peak of flu season generally occurs anywhere from late December through March. The health impact (infections and death) of a flu season varies from year to year. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention monitors circulating flu viruses and their related disease activity and provides influenza reports each week from October through May.
When is the flu season?
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