Stronger Flu Vaccines

Caitlin Husted, Copyeditor; Staff writer

This past week, flu vaccines have made the change from protecting against three strains of the flu, to four strains.

What makes the flu virus so tricky is that it is continually evolving. In most cases, one case of the flu is never the same as the next. For this reason, doctors are trying to protect more people by adding the protection of the fourth strain to flu vaccinations.

For more than 30 years, flu vaccinations have protected people from two common Type A strains of the flu, H1N1 and H3N2, and one strain of Type B. This strain of Type B and one other are the two most distinct Type B families that circulate the globe. Before, it would be a guess as to which Type B strain the vaccination would protect against, but by adding protection against a second Type B strain, the guesswork is being removed.

As of this year, all of the nasal spray versions of the flu vaccination will include protection against four strains of the flu; with the new nasal spray being called FluMist Quadrivalent. On the other hand, the shots, which are sold under the names Fluzone Quadrivalent, Fluarix Quadrivalent and FluLaval Quadrivalent, will have to be asked for. It is estimated by manufacturers that 135 million to 139 million doses of flu vaccinations will be given out this year. However, only around 30 million doses will offer the four-strain protection.

Although children and the elderly are more likely to need the vaccination, it is recommended that people of all ages be vaccinated. According to CNN, around 36,000 people a year die in the United States from the flu. With that being said, it is safer for everyone to be vaccinated.

Flu vaccinations are great, but it is also important to make sure that you are living a healthy lifestyle. Make sure to eat right, exercise, drink plenty of water and, most importantly, get enough sleep. Although this can be difficult for college student, if you want to protect yourself against the flu, it’s necessary.