Monday, 11 December, 2017

Flu shot may bring only some protection this year: disease expert

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Sammy Stanley | 05 December, 2017, 01:56

This year's flu season is off to a fast and early start.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recognizes the first week in December as National Influenza Vaccination Week to highlight the importance of continuing flu vaccination through the holiday season and beyond. On average, the CDC says flu kills about 24,000 Americans each year, and last year, the toll included 105 children.

We spoke with a doctor at Baystate Medical Center and he is urging people to get the flu shot if they haven't already. The flu vaccine protects against multiple strains of flu that may be circulating at any given time, and people can get infected with more than one type of flu during the season.

The Coconino County Public Health Services District is encouraging everyone to get a flu shot to help protect against illness.

Visit Health Canada's website to find out where you can get a flu shot in your province.

For more information visit the CDC's Disease Burden of Influenza and Vaccine Effectiveness webpages. "Flu is more likely to lead to hospitalization or death for people in the high risk groups, and their first line of defense is vaccination".

"By getting the vaccine you're not only protecting yourself but it's that herd immunity".

In September, World Health Organization flu advisers who met in Australia recommended updating future vaccines for the Southern Hemisphere to strengthen H3N2 protection. The two people who died were older than 65, according to a release from the health department.

He also suggests for older folks to ask for the higher dose of the flu shot, since your immune system isn't as strong.

CDC recommends that people get a flu vaccine by the end of October, if possible.

Reported cases represent only a small percentage of those in our communities who actually have the flu because many people do not seek treatment and testing.

Of course, the great hope is that we'll eventually get a universal flu vaccine that would work against all strains of the virus, and then we could stop having to get one every year.

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