Flu virus now widespread in Georgia

08 December, 2017, 01:59 | Author: Earnest Huff
  • Expect a Bad Flu Season

After a slow start in October, flu season in the United States is gaining speed, particularly in the South. Those infections led to 371 hospitalizations, 21 ICU admissions, and eight deaths.

In 2014, 147 children died of flu - a lot of them from a particular strain, H3N2. There are now specially-designed flu vaccines for seniors, meant to protect older people who face an increased risk from influenza.

The CDC recommends everyone six months and older get a flu shot each season. Despite that guidance, less than half of Americans have received a shot this season.

Michelle Krinsky said she did not feel comfortable getting the vaccine because its ingredients and effectiveness concerned her.

In the case of H3N2, the vaccine component has been genetically altered somewhat as a result of the manufacturing process, which involves growing vast quantities of the virus in eggs. "They present with the typical symptoms of fever chills cough sore throat muscle aches". Flu related complications can include pneumonia and dehydration.

"We have probably given an excessive 300 flu shots so far and we still have flu shots", Sheila Hubenka, a TB charge nurse with the health district said. And doctors said getting it done before the holidays would be a good idea.

And in Australia, where the winter flu season has just wrapped up, this season's vaccine was only about 10 percent effective against the H3N2 strain.

Many mothers-to-be, though, have not heeded this advice. At Altru in Grand Forks, over 20,000 flu shots already given.

Still, "I believe it's worth getting the vaccine", Siegel said.

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Usually, a H3N2 portends a severe flu year, but mild H3N2 years have also occurred, she said.

Flu Facts for Seniors People over the age of 65 have an even greater chance of experiencing flu complications.

Dr. Marc Siegel is an infectious diseases expert from NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City.

"The most predictable thing about flu is that it's unpredictable", Brammer said.

"Some patients believe the possible side effects outweigh the positives that they get from prevention", she said. "So if you need to be out and about running errands and meeting up with friends and family, it's wise to protect yourself-and them-as best you can".

"Everybody's risk is different", Schwartz said.

And the vaccine is no guarantee of protection.

This week is influenza awareness week and with three months of flu season left the goal is to stop those numbers from going up. The article's authors also noted that "the vaccine prevented about a third of all illness by all of the types of flu", Flannery said. Qualifying children and adolescents can receive flu vaccine provided by the Texas Vaccines for Children program. The nasal spray vaccine that has been available in recent years is no longer considered effective and is not available.

You can find out where to get a flu shot here.

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