WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- According to the Association of Health Care Journalists, U.S. public health officials warned the nation that this year’s flu season could be devastating.
- Australia experienced a tough flu season during its winter time, from June to August.
- Based on what happened in the Southern Hemisphere, U.S healthcare providers usually predict how the flu season in the U.S. will go.
Australia has not yet completed gathering all its data from the last flu season, but there might be proof indicating the flu vaccine is not as effective as it used to be. Available data has also shown that more adults and children caught the flu virus than in previous years.
Dr. Daniel Jernigan, influenza chief at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), told the Associated Press, “We don’t know what’s going to happen, but there’s a chance we could have a season similar to Australia.”
Five to twenty percent of the U.S. population comes down with the flu every year. According to the CDC, over 600,000 Americans were hospitalized due to flu complications during last year’s flu season.
“I like to say flu is fickle. I am often asked ‘how severe will the season be?’ It will be severe and it will always be severe,” Dr. William Schaffner, professor at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine said. “Flu vaccination is our first and best line of defense to prevent flu.”
In 2016, the U.S. flu vaccine was about 42% effective. It means that people who had the flu shot were 42% less likely to need additional medical care due to the virus. Some stocks are set to capitalize on a tough flu season.
When flu vaccine season moves into full swing, gainers are pharmacy chains Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. and CVS Health Corp. The two drug stores chains, along with Target Corp. and Walmart Stores Inc might see an increase in sales as consumers avail of prescription strength flu treatments.
Vicks over-the-counter medicine brand, owned by Procter & Gamble Co. might prove to be a popular brand in the fall and winter months. Vicks’ products include DayQuil and NyQuil, Formula 44 cough drops and Vicks VapoRub.
Flu season gainers also include Johnson & Johnson which manufactures Tylenol; GlaxoSmithKline PLC, maker of TheraFlu and Bayer AG, manufacturer of Alka Seltzer.