CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Medical experts warn that the upcoming flu season could be more severe because of the vaccine's ineffectiveness.
A report published in The New England Journal of Medicine says this year's flu vaccine is only about 10 percent effective against the influenza A strain.
One reason for the severe flu season may be because this year's vaccine may have been mismatched for other specific flu strains.
Health experts examined the vaccine used in Australia this year, which has the same composition as the one used in the United States.
Australia physicians reported seeing a record-high number of influenza cases this year and an above-average number of hospitalizations related to the flu.
Researchers believe the results documented in Australia will carry over in the Northern Hemisphere.
Approximately 3 million to 5 million severe influenza cases and 300,000 to 500,000 flu-related deaths are reported across the globe each year, according to the World Health Organization.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends several steps in protecting against the flu virus.
- A mismatched flu vaccine can still lower the risk of contracting influenza.
- Avoid close contact with sick people.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth after coming in contact with potentially contaminated surfaces.
- Disinfect surfaces regularly.