This promises to be a very nasty flu season, both in terms of prevalence and severity. A primary reason is that the H3N2 influenza strain is more dominant this year than in other years, and the strain tends to make people more miserable and causes more death than other strains.
Helen Branswell at STAT cites three factors:
--H3N2 causes more outbreaks in long-term care homes, taking a bigger toll on the elderly whose cases of the flu can quickly become life-threatening pneumonia.
--Flu vaccines vary in efficacy. Current vaccines against strains like H1N1 are more effective than those against H3N2.
--H3N2 is a particularly cagey foe. It mutates and evolves at a faster rate than H1N1 or influenza B viruses, making it more difficult to subdue.
In a Family Weigh
A growing number of women are overweight before pregnancy, according to new CDC statistics, which can impact both the health of the baby and the mother. In 2015, the CDC says 45 percent of women were at a healthy pre-pregnancy weight; 4 percent were underweight; 25 percent were overweight; and 25 percent were obese.
Being overweight or obese is linked to a greater risk of requiring a C-section and of obesity in the child. Conversely, being underweight before pregnancy increases the risk of low birth weight.
Body of Knowledge
When you laugh, you expel short bursts of air up to 70 mph.