BETHESDA, Md., Oct. 10 (UPI) -- This year's flu vaccine will protect against three strains most likely to cause the flu, but some vaccines will have an additional strain, U.S. officials say.
Dr. Anne Schuchat, an assistant surgeon general in the U.S. Public Health Service and director of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, said everyone age six months and older should get an influenza vaccine.
This year's flu vaccine includes the strains: A/California/7/2009 (H1N1) pdm09-like virus; A(H3N2) virus anti-genically like the cell-propagated prototype virus A/Victoria/361/2011; and B/Massachusetts/2/2012-like virus. All of the nasal spray vaccine and some other types of vaccine will also include a second influenza B strain, B/Brisbane/60/2008-like virus, Schuchat said.
While vaccination is the best way to prevent influenza, CDC outlined its three-step approach to fighting the flu.
In addition to getting vaccinated, the CDC urges everyone to practice preventive actions such as frequent hand washing, cough hygiene -- coughing and sneezing into one's elbow -- and for those who do get infected, appropriate use of anti-viral drugs as prescribed by a healthcare professional. The antivirals, oseltamivir or zanamivir, could help reduce the risk of serious influenza complications, Schuchat said.