What's New this Flu Season?

Expect a Bad Flu Season

As patient numbers increase, experts say flu shot less effective

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, several strains of influenza virus are in circulation. The flu usually peaks in January or February, but it can occur as early as October and as late as May. Flu reporting is largely voluntary and often inconsistent, Bennett said, so the weekly surveillance reports are "just a snapshot" that, examined over time, reveal seasonal trends.

The report stated that Georgia, Louisiana, Massachusetts and Oklahoma have reported widespread activity during the week ending November 25.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is to pause a plan to administer hepatitis A vaccines to children older than 12 months after the legislature's Social Welfare and Environmental Hygiene Committee questioned the plan's effectiveness yesterday. Despite that guidance, less than half of Americans have received a shot this season. "The vaccine doesn't work as well for H3N2 viruses in general".

Experts believe the flu virus is spread when a sick person talks, sneezes or coughs.

Some symptoms of the flu include fever, cough and sore throat. She was rushed between three hospitals and lay in a medically-induced coma for two weeks while her small body struggled to recover. Flu related complications can include pneumonia and dehydration.

"If you're not excited about getting vaccinated yourself, do it for the people you love", Mills said.

According to the Department of Health, the numbers are upsetting but not surprising.

More than a quarter of pregnant women reported that medical staff did not recommend or offer a flu shot.

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

"But we can not say we will go on to experience the kind of severe season Australia had, in part because we ourselves had a fairly severe epidemic due to H3N2 in 2016-17", Skowronski said.

Smith said she suffered temporary paralysis after getting the shot.

"Some patients believe the possible side effects outweigh the positives that they get from prevention", she said.

'Continued efforts are needed to increase the percentage of the population vaccinated during the next few months in order to reduce the burden of flu, ' the authors of the CDC report said.

"Because there is a risk, there should be a choice", Smith said.

And the vaccine is no guarantee of protection.

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.

Even if you don't have a regular health care provider, the flu vaccine is available in many settings. "There's still some protection against all flu illness in Australia last season. And there are a lot of H1N1 and B viruses out there", Brammer said. "Many are hospitalized and some die".

"The effectiveness changes from year to year", says Spicer.

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