Return of United States flu season brings worries about a virulent replay

Phillip Cunningham
September 30, 2018

So many people caught the flu that some hospitals and pharmacies across the US ran out of antiviral drugs, Alabama declared a state of emergency and a school district in Arkansas closed all 10 of its schools.

As a common and often deadly complication of influenza, pneumococcal disease is a leading cause of serious illness including pneumonia, meningitis, and sepsis.

Flu vaccination decreases the chances that you will spread the virus to others. It cannot. It's a killed virus that just stimulates your immune system to make its own flu virus attack cells.

As for the coming season, the CDC says that, so far, at least the circulating strain seems to be a milder one, and there are preliminary signs that the vaccine match is good.

A poll by Insights West, on behalf of London Drugs, shows 78% of British Columbians think it is important to get a flu shot.

Children, older adults, pregnant women and those with chronic health conditions such as heart disease, lung disease, diabetes and obesity are especially at risk of complications from the flu.

Federal officials say the number, which is much higher than normal and the highest in 40 years, came about because last year's flu strain was particularly strong.

"At least 80 percent of those children who died of influenza were not immunized". Under the new methodology, the CDC went back and reclassified the flu seasons from 2003-2016. When people who are already frail they may never return to their pre-flu functional level.

You may be exposed to a flu virus shortly before getting vaccinated or during the period that it takes the body to gain protection after getting vaccinated.

Flu vaccination is recommended each year for everyone 6 months of age and older.

How Effective Was the Flu Vaccine in the 2017-2018 Season? The rate for children 6 months through 4 years (75 percent) is significantly higher than the rate for children 5 through 12 years (65 percent).

This was the highest death toll and most severe flu season since 1976, according to officials, with more people being admitted to the hospital because of the flu.

There are a number of reasons why this last flu season was so bad. "It's why many people feel wiped out for two weeks after stopping coughing. Flu can lead to progressive decline and progressive disability", said Dr. Schaffner.

"Think of it, 180 families put a child in a grave a year ago because of a vaccine-preventable infection", said Dr. Wendy Sue L. Swanson with Seattle Children's Hospital.

All vaccine options may not be available at all locations, so experts emphasize that people should not wait to get vaccinated if their first choice of vaccine is not available. "It can be bad if you haven't been vaccinated".

And for people who don't like needles, the nasal spray vaccine is available this year.

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