Flu season soars in the United States, especially in the South

Flu season soars in the United States, especially in the South

As of November 25, nearly 2,100 lab-confirmed cases had been detected in various parts of the country, of which 84 per cent were influenza A. Those infections resulted in 371 hospitalizations, including 21 ICU admissions, and eight deaths, the report says.

The flu season is finally upon us, but recent reports revealed that this year's flu shot may be ineffective.

A year ago in Canada and the US, the vaccine was found to be only 35 per cent effective in preventing cases of H3N2 influenza, she said.

But she added that a 10 percent effectiveness rate still seems a bit low.

"It's a flu virus that really hits older adults especially hard", she said.

Though the accuracy and effectiveness of each year's vaccine varies, this year's seems on track to provide good protection against the Influenza A strains now predominating, health officials say.

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"The influenza vaccine still provides some level of protection".

"We do see a predominance of the H3N2 virus that was common last season", Flannery said.

"Even if you're young and healthy and think you might not have problems from the flu, consider getting the flu vaccine".

Data from the CDC's interactive flu-tracking site show cases of people falling ill with "influenza-like illnesses" (ILI) are more widespread than in previous years.

If you do catch the flu, Brammer suggests taking antivirals such as Tamiflu to reduce the number of days you are sick.

However, doctors insist we can not underestimate the importance of "herd immunity", and that the shot may be more effective as lessening illness in those who do get sick. Some patients believe they can protect themselves by boosting their immune systems, eating well and making sure they sleep better, she said.

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But she said it's too early to predict what strain will predominate or how severe the season will be.

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

Flu shots are available at more than 300 locations around Vermont.

Dr. Marc Siegel is an infectious diseases expert from NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City. "And that may dampen down the contribution of H3N2 this season, which would be a good thing". While some people get flu even after receiving a flu shot, the vaccine frequently lessens the severity and duration of illness.

Although it is relatively early in this flu season, influenza activity in SC at this point has been higher than normal.

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