Local health officials advise residents to get flu vaccine

Alicia Farmer
October 31, 2018

Past year was considered a "high-severity" season, with 172 reported child deaths and 19 consecutive weeks of record-breaking flu-related hospitalizations nationwide, according to a statement by AmeriHealth Caritas, a national leader in Medicaid managed care and other health-care services.

According to a new CDC report released Thursday, the highest rate of influenza-related deaths in a decade was reported in the 2017-18 flu season. An estimated 675,000 Americans died as a result of the disease, part of the at least 50 million fatalities worldwide.Howard County was one of the lesser affected counties. That figure is almost double the 218 deaths reported during the 2016-17 flu season and six times the 59 reported deaths the year before. But last season, vaccination coverage among adults was 37.1 percent, a decrease of 6.2 percentage points from the previous season. Kentucky now is reporting 28 laboratory-confirmed cases of flu and one influenza-related death. "To that end, scientists around the world collect samples to identify which flu strains are most likely to be circulating in the next flu season."These strains are consistently changing as they move through the population, making the response to them a mixture of research, calculation and guesswork".

Influenza A (H1N1) pdm09, influenza A (H3N2), and influenza B viruses continue to co-circulate, with influenza A (H1N1) pdm09 viruses reported most commonly by public health laboratories during the most recent three weeks.

"Now is the flawless time to get vaccinated ... it gives your body enough time to respond to the vaccine and mount a good immune response so you're ready for the flu season", Fry said.

LAIV protection against another flu type, H1N1, was not affected one way or the other by prior vaccination histories, according to the report. After fighting influenza, the body is sometimes weakened enough that pneumonia will set in, he said.That's why Nechay encourages his at-risk patients to also be immunized against pneumonia.

The flu vaccine does not give you the flu. That inflammation can make naturally-occurring plaques in the circulatory system less stable.

"I think that really discouraged a lot of people from getting vaccinated", said Schaffner, who also noted that the early data was incorrect.

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There are various flu vaccines available for the 2018-19 season.

After a record-breaking flu season last year, health care professionals are urging Twin Counties residents to get a flu shot this year.

There's more about flu shot recommendations at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Dr. Miller said the best way to time it is to run through the ABCs.

There are no details on the child's age or where they were from. For some children, that can mean explaining ahead of time.

Lehan Drugs - a family-owned, multigenerational pharmacy opened in 1946, with locations at 1850 Gateway Drive, Sycamore; 1407 S. Fourth St.in DeKalb; and 811 S. Perryville Road, Rockford - typically sees 1,500 to 2,000 people come in for flu shots in October and November.

The CDC recommends everyone 6 months and older receive an annual flu vaccination and said certain people are at a higher risk of contracting the flu, including pregnant women, children 5 years old and younger and people aged 65 and older.

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