State reminds flu season is nearing

Health officials working to make flu shot more effective

Well, public health officials say it's time once again to protect yourself with a flu shot. "All it takes is getting influenza once, and you have a whole new appreciation of its health importance".

An estimated 80,000 Americans died of flu and its complications last winter, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The tally was almost twice as much as what health officials previously considered a bad year, he said. The state's tally included one child.

Reed has her family vaccinated in September, ahead of the start of flu season, which usually begins in October in Hampton Roads and Virginia, and peaks between December and February. She added, "across the board, past year was definitely bad".

"That's huge", said Dr. William Schaffner, a Vanderbilt University vaccine expert. "If you get it too early, does our immune protection wane by the end of the flu season?" "There's a definite drop-off once you start throwing up some barriers", Safranek said.

Some studies have shown that the protective antibodies produced in response to the vaccine can decrease over time. This was evidenced previous year, with one circulating strain of the flu, H3N2, poorly matched with the vaccine. It provided better protection, for instance, against the influenza B strains that surged later in the season - 49 percent - than against the influenza A type H3N2 - 25 percent - that dominated early on. "Getting your flu shot helps protect all, including older adults, very young children, pregnant women, and people with certain long-term health conditions who are more vulnerable to serious flu complications".

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In recent years, flu-related deaths have ranged from about 12,000 to - in the worst year - 56,000, according to the CDC.

It eclipses the estimates for every flu season going back to the winter of 1976-1977. Dr. Sarah McIntire said more patients have had more questions earlier than usual this year. The tally was almost twice as great as what health officials previously considered a bad year, he said.

Flu vaccines have been updated this year to better match circulating flu viruses.?

More than 42,700 Islanders who fall within these groups will be eligible for vaccines, which will be administered in nurseries, schools, GP surgeries and pharmacies.

"One hundred and eighty kids - this really hit me hard as the father of three kids - died past year from the flu".

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