Influenza Vaccination Week starts on December 3

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First flu-related death of the season hits Edmonton

Officials are predicting this year's flu season will be harsher than normal, and the flu shot may not be as effective at preventing the virus as it has been in the past.

You can enter your ZIP Code and find places to get vaccinated here.

It is estimated that flu vaccines helped avert 40,000 deaths between 2005 and 2014, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported.

Australia physicians reported seeing a record-high number of influenza cases this year and an above-average number of hospitalizations related to the flu. First, the CDC reports that available vaccines have been updated to better match circulating viruses.

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Health experts examined the vaccine used in Australia this year, which has the same composition as the one used in the United States.

It takes about two weeks for good protection to kick in.

National Influenza Vaccination Week is a weeklong observance that serves as a reminder to those people who have not yet received a flu vaccine that the time to get vaccinated continues into winter - through February or later, when flu season typically peaks. There are still 58 of those vaccines available. A second goal of the observance week is to communicate to those who are at the highest risk of complications if they acquire the flu.

Avoid close contact with sick people. But a year ago, a baffled CDC said it was no longer protecting against certain influenza strains as well as regular flu shots - and told doctors not to use it. Vaccination can be given any time during the flu season. Per the Navarro Regional Hospital Quality Director, Cassie Carter, RN, symptoms of the flu most often include: fever, chills, cough, sore throat, muscle ache and fatigue.

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