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The Best Way to Fight the Flu

October 21, 2019

Do you feel that chill in the air? In a lot of places around the world, including
North America and Europe, it’s that lovely time of the year known as “flu season.” And each year, we try to fight flu season
with the influenza vaccine. Every season is kind of a whole new battle
for researchers, because flu viruses evolve quickly. This year is no different. The fact that there’s a flu season means
doctors and healthcare organizations can prepare for it. But why is there a flu season at all? Why isn’t there just flu flying around everywhere
all year? Well, there are actually /two/ flu seasons
every year, because the Northern hemisphere and the Southern hemisphere experience winters
at opposite times of year. So here in the United States, for example,
flu season lasts from about November through March. And countries in the Southern hemisphere typically
face the flu between May and September. The flu virus /does/ circulate year round,
but the number of cases rapidly increases during these peak months, giving influenza
its own holiday season to celebrate. Research suggests that winter months are ideal
for influenza transmission because they bring a combination of cool air and low humidity. Influenza virus is transmitted through droplets
from a sneeze or cough that are carried in the air. When temperature and humidity are low, these
droplets can fly easily through the air without much resistance. But in warmer and more humid climates, the
extra moisture in the air makes the droplets bigger and heavier, and therefore more likely
to fall out of suspension in the air. So the virus can’t travel very far. And of course, cooler temperatures also mean
people tend to stay indoors, increasing the number of potential bodies in an enclosed
space for the virus to infect. Makes sense, right? But even if the influenza keeps going from
one hemisphere to the next, why do we need a different vaccine every year? Each flu season is unique, because the influenza
virus mutates from year to year. There are three major types of influenza:
labeled A, B, and C. And influenza A viruses are further categorized
into subtypes, depending on the two proteins that coat their outer shells. There are the HA, or hemagglutinin [hee-muh-glue-tuh-nin]
proteins, and the NA, or neuraminidase [new-rah-min-uh-dace] proteins. These proteins act like beacons to a host
cell, tricking the cell into letting the virus attach and infect it. There are different subtypes of these proteins,
H1 through H18 for the hemagglutinins and N1 through N11 for neuraminidase. So, the different combinations are why we
talk about flu strains in terms of, say, H1N1 or H3N2. But these HA and NA proteins mutate very easily,
through a process called antigenic drift. These small changes don’t alter the virus
very much, but after some time, the changes accumulate,j and can result in a new strain
of virus that acts in completely different ways than the original did. And sometimes, in rarer cases, genetic mutations
in the virus can cause big, dangerous changes. This is called antigenic /shift/, and it can
result in a brand new combination of genes that make the virus much more infectious. You might remember the antigenic shift that
happened back in 2009. That’s what created swine flu. So, with different viruses mutating all the
time, how do we know which strains are the one we should get vaccinated against this
winter? Four strains are selected based on data collected
throughout the year by health organizations monitoring flu activity in various countries
across the globe. They report it to a network run by the World
Health Organization, which then compiles the data to predict which strains will be likely
be circulating during peak seasons and come up with recommendations for that year’s
vaccines. Since the Northern Hemisphere and Southern
Hemisphere tag-team winters, usually the data collected during /one/ flu season will help
inform the /other/ hemisphere about which strains are doing the most damage, and if
the vaccines were effective or not. Flu vaccines are actually developed /months/
before peak season starts, to allow time for them to be made and tested. But that means that sometimes the viruses
that are circulating change while vaccines are being produced, so the vaccines might
end up not being as effective. So, what strains are we up against this year? There’s A/California/7/2009 (H1N1)pdm09-like
virus, whose really long name comes from things like its type, where and when it was first
isolated, and the subtype of its HA and NA proteins. It’s an influenza A virus isolated from
California that’s closely related to the strain that caused the 2009 H1N1 pandemic. Then there’s A/Hong Kong/4801/2014 (H3N2)-like
virus… And a strain called B/Brisbane/60/2008-like
virus which comes from a line of B viruses from Victoria, Australia. It gets a slightly shorter name because influenza
B viruses aren’t categorized by subtype. In the quadrivalent vaccines like the nasal
spray version, a fourth strain is included and is called B/Phuket/3073/2013-like virus
descended from the Yamagata, Japan lineage of B viruses. So just like spring, summer, fall, and winter,
flu season is an inevitable season that comes back year after year. But scientists do their best to fight it by
working year round to keep us up-to-date and protected from the ever-changing flu. So if it’s almost winter where you live,
go get your flu shot if you haven’t yet, and brace yourself, flu season is coming. Thanks for watching this episode of SciShow,
which was brought to you by our patrons on Patreon. If you want to help support this show, just
go to And don’t forget to go to
and subscribe!


  • Reply LevityMire November 9, 2016 at 12:17 am

    It's pretty cool to hear about the type of effort that goes into the vaccine, something I wouldn't normally put much consideration into.

  • Reply Ente Fetz November 9, 2016 at 12:38 am

    Got my vaxination 4 weeks ago and since 2 weeks ago, I'm having the worst cold I have had in years. What went wrong ?

  • Reply Baker Illustrations November 9, 2016 at 12:55 am

    I never had the flu…

  • Reply 200odd300 November 9, 2016 at 12:57 am

    I don't know the last time I got a flu shot

  • Reply Erykah Robinson November 9, 2016 at 1:37 am

    So besides getting the shot, what are some other ways to cope or stay away from the flu?

  • Reply Juliet White November 9, 2016 at 2:53 am

    does anyone else just… not get the flu? I've never gotten the vaccine and i've never had the flu.

  • Reply informationtolearn 11 November 9, 2016 at 3:50 am

    The vaccine is probability of whether it will prevent the present of the flu.

  • Reply Robert Andersson November 9, 2016 at 8:55 am

    Thank you for making this video. I am sick myself right now and have been for the past 4 days, but I am nor certain weather I have the flue or if it’s just a cold. My nose is running, my throat is dry and I often cough (dray coughs). I am not much of an expert when it comes to biology or diseases.

  • Reply domonik Oldham November 9, 2016 at 9:07 am

    So do you have to vacatonataed

  • Reply Wishful Thinking! November 9, 2016 at 11:44 am

    Brisbane in Victoria?, don't you mean Queensland.

  • Reply Tfin November 9, 2016 at 12:13 pm

    Best way to fight the flu: recruit all your friends, family, coworkers, and casual acquaintances to the battle.

  • Reply Sumowning November 9, 2016 at 12:15 pm

    comments whilst being sick Yeah.. It's time for a flushot.. SHIT.

  • Reply myHuge249 November 9, 2016 at 4:13 pm

    lol am i the only one who never gets ill other than the common cold every now and then

  • Reply Waltham1892 November 9, 2016 at 6:35 pm

    Best way to fight the flu is to cut the head off the infected.

    Oops, sorry, that's how to fight zombies…

  • Reply Ima Skeptic November 9, 2016 at 6:44 pm

    "Although doctors maintain that flu shots are life-savers that everyone should receive, some researchers are uncovering hints that "serial vaccination" — that is, consistently receiving annual flu shots — may in fact limit one's ability to fight the virus in the future."

  • Reply A R November 9, 2016 at 7:11 pm

    More hank or i unsub 🙁

  • Reply Luca Ciao November 9, 2016 at 8:01 pm

    HA > NA

  • Reply Terri Bel Bliss November 9, 2016 at 10:48 pm

    Best way to fight the flu. Get a flu shot.

  • Reply Anthony Trupiano November 10, 2016 at 12:22 am

    Who is responsible for tracking the flu virus and deciding which strain to vaccinate against?

  • Reply nuju888ice November 10, 2016 at 1:41 am

    the nasal spray has pretty much been discontinued for the foreseeable future

  • Reply OPT Wood November 10, 2016 at 2:44 am

    B/Brisbane/60/2008 was discovered in Victoria, Australia? Not Brisbane, Queensland, Australia?

  • Reply Rynier Yarom November 10, 2016 at 4:02 am

    What about people in the tropics? Are there any flu season shots that we can get and how?

  • Reply Le Chat November 10, 2016 at 4:04 am

    Then there's the space flu from Space Brisbane–in Space Australia.

  • Reply I love cats I just love cats November 10, 2016 at 4:08 am

    My mom had the flu vaccine yet died from MRSA a few months later. I don't get the vaccine now – wtf – if it can't protectt why do it?

  • Reply Julia November 10, 2016 at 4:44 am

    Darn I was hoping this would tell me not to get my shot. I hate shots. Nope nopety nope I dont want my shot im not getting it. They aren't offering the mist in the area I live in this year and i dont want the shot!

  • Reply Sid Duncan-Steele November 10, 2016 at 6:21 am

    lolz brisbane is in queensland australia, victories about 1700kilometers south where melbourne is.

  • Reply Jeric Simeon November 10, 2016 at 10:40 am

    Why is it not good to drink cold water when you have cold?

  • Reply Deepthi Kulkarni November 10, 2016 at 11:41 am

    Do you mean the Brisbane virus originally came from Victoria, Australia but mutated into the Brisbane, Queensland variety?

  • Reply interfear1 November 10, 2016 at 9:40 pm

    Correction, SciShow writers. If the strain in Australia was found in Victoria, why is called Brisbane? That is Queensland, not Victoria.

  • Reply Randy Randalman November 10, 2016 at 11:29 pm

    the flu shot is useless if you've already got the flu right?

  • Reply Capstonegem November 11, 2016 at 12:21 am

    I'm in souther California, we don't get winter

  • Reply TheJamesRedwood November 11, 2016 at 3:44 pm

    Yeah, Brisbane is in Queensland, not Victoria.

  • Reply buster only full screen mode captions on boss rush November 11, 2016 at 9:01 pm

    So the solution is clearly to stay away from areas that get cold. Then you will only have to worry about malaria.
    $uccess bling bling.

  • Reply AlickzRider Theories November 12, 2016 at 4:58 am

    Why do we even get Flu shots were just making the virus stronger we should've just kept fighting it off naturally!

  • Reply BoredThatsWhy November 12, 2016 at 7:43 am

    No real info on The Best Way to Fight the Flu in this video, mislabeled!

  • Reply A Jolly Nurgle Prick November 12, 2016 at 2:30 pm

    That rap at 3:23

  • Reply Star Dreamer November 12, 2016 at 8:06 pm

    My first response was "With a baseball bat duh."
    I guess I was wayyyy wrong.

  • Reply D. G. November 12, 2016 at 10:10 pm

    Vaccinations are also an easy way for them to inject you with nano-chip technology and chemicals that can alter and change your DNA beyond repair. AND THEY ARE DOING IT BUT OTHERS ARE DESIGNED TO KILL YOU SLOWLY BUT SURELY !

  • Reply Bbekah November 14, 2016 at 1:52 am

    Can viruses get cancer? Or single celled organisms? How does it work?

  • Reply Ed November 14, 2016 at 8:39 am

    Aren't they investigating in Canada if the vaccines are actually making the outbreaks worse?

  • Reply LordSlag November 14, 2016 at 8:56 pm

    HA!! Evolution is a lie from satan! My side won an election so that makes me right!!

    Yes, I'm being sarcastic.

  • Reply NKD November 15, 2016 at 3:31 pm


  • Reply R MH November 16, 2016 at 6:00 am

    I wondered why flu shots have to be gotten every year instead of just once. Thanks for explaining.

  • Reply Adrian November 17, 2016 at 10:59 am

    It's not vaccines who advanced human civilization up until this point. It's the human immune system. Vaccines are a bullshit excuse to poison people with worse diseases than the ones they're supposed to prevent.

  • Reply PlusHalfling November 21, 2016 at 11:35 pm

    i have never had the flu and i refuse to take the vaccine until i get the flu once

  • Reply Careless' Coaching November 22, 2016 at 2:31 am

    It never fails that when I get the flu shot, I get sick, when I don't get the shot, I don't get sick.

  • Reply Hazcool45 November 22, 2016 at 1:55 pm

    Plague inc!!!!!

  • Reply Darious .D November 23, 2016 at 7:59 am

    Wow he got earrings.. And his lisp has disappeared

  • Reply #AidanReidBRAND November 23, 2016 at 3:37 pm

    Brisbane is in Queensland… not Victoria… -_-

  • Reply Morgan Forester November 24, 2016 at 5:44 am

    well I've had one flu this year, hoping i don't get another

  • Reply Alberto Laurella November 24, 2016 at 8:59 pm

    Here's a question, why am I immune to any flu?

  • Reply ImaginaryVenus5 November 25, 2016 at 2:31 am

    So many people here saying that they never had flu shots but also never had the flu. I mean, i never had flu shots as well but i got infected with flu like 3 or 4 times in my life, I don't think the vaccine issue is really that simple of a problem.

  • Reply miiirtiii November 27, 2016 at 3:52 pm

    and I'm a total loser and only get flu in April in October WHAT IS MY LIFE AAAAAAAAAAAA

  • Reply Pokephosgene December 4, 2016 at 7:21 pm

    Do extremely low temperatures and dry air, such as in Siberia, block flu from spreading?

  • Reply Gagandeep Baath December 7, 2016 at 6:31 am

    I never got a flu vaccination but I read somewhere that healthy, young people should also get vaccinated to protect the children and elderly that are at risk of dying if they get the flu.

  • Reply Kevin Rous December 7, 2016 at 5:44 pm

    I'm pleasantly surprised to have read no comments from anti-vaxxers…

  • Reply Nin10 December 7, 2016 at 11:44 pm

    I only get sick once a year…and its usually within a week after getting my flu shot

  • Reply Sam Cooney December 30, 2016 at 12:28 pm

    I got a vaccine but I still got the flu, fuck.

  • Reply Fendoroid December 30, 2016 at 4:25 pm

    So, if northern and southern emispheres would be isolated for a year, flu would disappear?

  • Reply Damir January 3, 2017 at 8:47 pm

    title of video doesnt match totaly its content and its anoying really

  • Reply Chelle January 11, 2017 at 9:11 pm

    so, you didn't answer the question, but ultimately explained the flu virus.

  • Reply Luis Martinez January 31, 2017 at 5:31 pm

    u fucking idiot u just wasted 5 min of my time to say get a fucking flu shot….now I hope u get ball cancer

  • Reply Jason March 7, 2017 at 4:24 am

    fucking what the fucking fuck

  • Reply Imprinted Princess March 14, 2017 at 12:15 am

    Winter fucking sucks. I don't know how anybody likes it.

  • Reply Valeta Merrifield March 14, 2017 at 5:45 pm

    flu shots were only 70% effective this year. got one and still got the flu a

  • Reply Xtreme J March 15, 2017 at 5:01 am

    Is anyone else freaking out?

  • Reply Xtreme J March 15, 2017 at 5:09 am

    2009 H1N1 outbreak: Death rate 1/20 infected, infection rate 1/5 exposed. This is a virus that, without proper precautions, could have devastating effects

  • Reply Christina Walker April 2, 2017 at 2:22 am

    ive never had the flu or a flu shot but im really scared ill end up getting it 🙁

  • Reply Julie Williams April 25, 2017 at 12:53 am

    last time i got the flu shot i got the flu

  • Reply Assoma muhamed May 9, 2017 at 7:05 pm

    the best way is to keep traveling between northern and southern hemisphere

  • Reply Kayla Marten May 13, 2017 at 1:53 pm

    I'm have 19 and never had the flu. my secret is hiding in my room like never leave my room, wash my hands 30+ times, take a shower every time I leave my room and a few other things. I have a phobia of vomit and getting sick. I have issues….whoops

  • Reply Abe Sitta June 18, 2017 at 6:22 am

    I have the flu right now i wanna off myself

  • Reply KitsueMage June 25, 2017 at 5:05 am

    I do testing for the vaccines. A lot of testing… @[email protected]

  • Reply Danae Kelly September 2, 2017 at 2:27 pm

    And we're now in the part of the year where it's simultaneously flu season and hay fever season….

  • Reply Starbit gaming September 11, 2017 at 7:25 pm

    Currently isolating myself in my room scared for my life because no one in my house knows how to be healthy and get sick every year. (I have emetophobia)

  • Reply Nirajan Pradhan September 16, 2017 at 8:40 am

    Austrailian friends add me

  • Reply Seth Neview October 3, 2017 at 8:56 pm

    I have social anxiety, why?

  • Reply Aimee Coleman October 10, 2017 at 12:00 pm

    I was hoping this would contain some information on how to help me get over this flu. Oh well 😛

  • Reply Kurtis Russell November 1, 2017 at 3:45 pm

    I have full blown flu now you donut this did not help

  • Reply ßildØva Dova December 30, 2017 at 11:41 pm

    I have never had a flu shot nor have I had the flu even though I've been around people with the flu ( in or out of a hospital ) I find this strange seeing as I am a Diabetic and have a few other health problems.

  • Reply CorinnaRose 1988 January 4, 2018 at 6:46 am

    Does he ever blink ??

  • Reply Idylchatter January 13, 2018 at 1:32 pm

    How this guy dealt with the swine flu. Liposomal Vitamin C at the end of video.

  • Reply Dawn2334 January 16, 2018 at 4:07 am

    Flu shots are 99% noneffective….

    NEVER EVER GET A FLU SHOT until you research the ingredients…go look it up…it'll literally "make you sick"

  • Reply smoke weed every day * January 24, 2018 at 4:36 pm

    So how do you fight the flu?
    Not prevent it.

    Change the title

  • Reply loveonfire February 1, 2018 at 6:11 pm

    i will never get a flu shot

  • Reply Leon Degrelle February 3, 2018 at 10:58 pm

    I wonder why always start from America….

  • Reply 76 Genders February 6, 2018 at 11:57 am

    I already got it ?

  • Reply Stephanie Taft-Bekman February 11, 2018 at 8:00 am

    Cranberry tablets ever nine hours! It works for the "2nd" time around in the same season.

  • Reply Lily_beam12 Roblox February 24, 2018 at 5:38 pm

    Well flu season is bad 2018

  • Reply T1 March 2, 2018 at 4:49 pm

    Ffs I now know some person in my school has transmitted the flu to me

  • Reply FoxaRocka G March 19, 2018 at 8:32 pm

    How does the flu mist work

  • Reply Dan suds March 28, 2018 at 8:57 pm

    What a stupid video! Where is the advice on fighting the flu?

  • Reply The Baker March 30, 2018 at 8:34 am

    This did not tell me how to fight the flu. Misleading title. Shame on you.

  • Reply I'm not Wanda August 11, 2018 at 6:44 am

    Did he say pandemic?

  • Reply Substance N October 22, 2018 at 1:10 pm

    Oh thats interesting the Brisbane one is from victoria cause Brisbane is in Queensland

  • Reply Watery Robby7 November 29, 2018 at 12:05 pm

    I created the swine flew and it flew away i was born in 2009

  • Reply Sam F March 10, 2019 at 8:02 am

    Slow down man!!

  • Reply Donny H May 31, 2019 at 9:14 am

    What a horseshit story,the influenza virus mutates every year!!!I've been told that any mutation 30years ago was very rare to occur….it seems like wen promoters of flu vaccines talk(the common pharmaceuticals),they like to sell you horseshit vaccines which most of the times don't work but will only make you sick because of the heavy metals in it.Start thinking with your own head instead of theirs!

  • Reply Donny H May 31, 2019 at 9:16 am

    Most viruses are created by man,period.

  • Reply Dark dragonzoz July 5, 2019 at 9:12 am

    Ummm Brisbane isn't in Victoria……. c'mon guys

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