Many people think of the flu as something that is a miserable excuse to stay home from work for a few days. What you might not realize is that some people who get the flu might require intensive medical care because there are some serious risks associated with this virus. When issues are present, doctors who treat the patients need to make sure they are offering care that meets or exceeds the standard of care.

For the current flu season, experts are warning that the season is going to be severe. This is a warning that prompt treatments are necessary. The prediction came after the Australian flu season, which is a predictor of the United States flu season, was more severe than normal.

In that country, more people were hospitalized and more people died that what was expected and what is considered average for the season. The H3N2 strain of the virus is the one that hit Australia particularly hard. In 2017, more than twice the average number of hospitalizations and deaths occurred. There were 745 deaths and 29,000 hospitalizations there this year.

One thing that you shouldn’t think is that you are fully protected if you get the flu shot. The Australian flu season.vaccine was found to be only 10 percent effective against H3N2. The vaccine in the U.S. is pretty much the same as that vaccine, which could mean that Americans are facing a particularly hard season.

Make sure that you are taking steps to prevent the flu, such as washing your hands and not touching your face. If you do come down with the flu, stay hydrated and seek medical care as soon as possible so that you might respond to antiviral medications. If you don’t get medical care right away, head to the doctor or emergency room if you notice any troublesome symptoms, such as a high fever, seizures or difficulty breathing.

Source: Consumer Reports, “2017-18 Flu Season Is Looking Like a Bad One,” Chris Hendel, accessed Dec. 21, 2017