According to a study from American researchers, people could be in for more severe flu seasons that arrive earlier, as a result of climate change.
The study led by Sherry Towers of the Mathematical, Computational and Modeling Sciences Center at Arizona State University studied waves of influenza and climate patterns in the U.S. from the 1997-1998 season through to the present day.
"It appears that fewer people contract influenza during warm winters, and this causes a major portion of the population to remain vulnerable into the next season, causing an early and strong emergence," Towers said.
"And when a flu season begins exceptionally early, much of the population has not had a chance to get vaccinated, potentially making that flu season even worse."
The research, published in PLOS Currents: Influenza on January 28, indicates that if global warming continues, warm winters will become more common, with the authors saying that the impact of the flu will likely be "more heavily felt".
You can help to prepare your family for the ills and chills of the winter ahead by setting up a private health insurance plan.