What's New this Flu Season?

Alicia Farmer
December 7, 2017

Flu activity is listed as widespread in four states: Massachusetts, Georgia, Louisiana and Oklahoma.

Vaccination is said to be the most effective way to prevent the disease, even when circulating viruses may not exactly match the vaccine viruses.

This season, the CDC advises that only injectable flu vaccines (flu shots) are recommended. The dominant flu virus strain is H3N2, which can result in more severe illnesses than other strains.

A Nov. 30 report by the BC Centre of Disease Controlsays that for the time period between Nov. 12 and Nov. 25, flu rates are within the 10-year average and detection "remains at low but increasing levels, with a mix of influenza A and B".

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Skiest said people can avoid numerous complications associated with the virus by getting the shot. That's important because up to a month after older adults have recovered from the flu, they're still at an increased risk of having a heart attack or stroke. He encourages people age 65 and older to talk with their doctor about getting one of the vaccines created to give older people a better immune response, and therefore, better protection against flu. "It is not an understatement to say their lives may depend on you".

People taking medication for hepatitis C or undergoing interferon therapy should not worry that the flu vaccine will affect their treatment, Lee said, adding that they should get vaccinated as soon as possible for protection against the flu.

Flu shots are available throughout Chatham-Kent from a family healthcare provider, walk-in clinic or many local pharmacies.

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