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Health officials encourage vaccination as peak of flu season begins

13 December 2017

By the end of the year, the CDC declared an epidemic, with more than 20 deaths in just a few weeks before Christmas that year. "This means it reduces the chance of coming down with the flu, or if you're someone who does get the flu, it lessens the likelihood you'll get very sick from the flu", said Dieckhaus.

"Flu is really hard to predict, " she told Capitol Media Services.

But for this season, scientists perceive a different problem.

“According to the CDC, it takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies that protect against influenza virus infection to fully develop in the body, so its best to get vaccinated early, ” said PHD spokeswoman Melanie Collett.

Flu season typically begins in October and runs through March. However, only about one-third of those tested to be actual cases of the flu, and almost all of those confirmed flu cases were indeed one of the three strains targeted by the current flu shot serum.

Most flu activity peaks between December and February, but in Florida so far, the highest number of outbreaks have been seen in the Tampa Bay area. And that last season, Rigler continued, lasted unusually long, into the summer months, with 100 or more cases a week into June and July.

Experts have known for years that the success of a flu vaccine greatly lies with the manufacturer's ability to accurately predict which virus strain will spread the incoming flu season. That's why flu vaccines also change each year.

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A report published today shows the rate of adults getting vaccinated against influenza this year has dropped 3.7 percent, meaning just a third of adults and children are protected.

"Connecticut is a lot like what we are seeing nationally", Bolduc said.

Still, she acknowledged, the protection is not immediate. It's considered the most ineffective way to administrate the vaccine and protect yourself from the virus. "Nobody wants a heart attack or a stroke, so by preventing flu, you prevent this inflammatory response and you can help prevent those strokes and heart attacks".

And finally, if you can, stay at home if you're sick.

Flu activity is on the rise in Georgia.

"Historically, when this is the dominant strain that we're seeing, we tend to have a heavier flu season". Of the subtyped cases, H3 is predominant, which is what the state has been seeing as well.

The flu is a contagious respiratory disease caused by a virus infecting the nose, throat, and lungs and can lead to serious complications such as pneumonia or bronchitis, hospitalization, or even death.

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While the symptoms remain similar from year to year, strains of the flu virus vary depending on where you live and how much the viruses have changed.

The 10 percent figure is mainly due to the fact that the flu virus that hit Australia this year, whose flu season coincides with the USA summertime, was the H3N2 strain. And the reason for such a low level of protection might lie in the method by which the majority of flu vaccines are made: in eggs.

Now there are at least two strains of influenza circulating, with the "A" strain dominate at this time.

Dr. Dieckhaus recommends everyone over the age of six months receive the vaccine and says it's not too late to get one if you haven't already.

Q: What precautions can people take?

Flu vaccines can be obtained at local pharmacies and primary care physicians' offices or health centers.

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Health officials encourage vaccination as peak of flu season begins