Sneezin' Season 

click to enlarge Past data indicates that this flu season will be particularly rough. - KOMUNEWS, CC BY 2.0
  • KOMUnews, CC by 2.0
  • Past data indicates that this flu season will be particularly rough.
In the Boise Weekly newsroom, there is a moratorium on opening a story with the phrase "It's that time of year again." If there was ever a time to trot out that particular cliche though, it would be now: "It's that time of year again, when the sounds of coughing, sneezing and sniffling fill the air, because it's cold and flu season." And we may be facing a particularly harsh one.

Experts say the last two flu seasons have been relatively mild, and when there are two not-so-bad seasons in a row, the third is usually pretty rough. Also, Australia has had it bad. According to a report, scientists often look to the Land Down Under to predict the severity of flu season in our hemisphere (since their winter is our summer), and Australia had it tough, with almost all reported cases of flu coming from the H3N2 strain.

H3 is "the worst" because "it causes more symptoms," according to There was also an "early uptick" in the number of cases in the United States; instead of starting near Christmas, flu season kicked off around Thanksgiving. Plus, it's almost always all one "family" of flu until February, when another flu kicks in, but this season there was an even split from the get-go. According to the report, "when the flu hits early and equal, it will be a worse season."

So, if you usually get a flu shot and haven't, get on it. If you don't usually get a shot, talk to your doctor and see if you should. In the interim, wash your hands frequently, eat well and get plenty of rest. Here's to your health!

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