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Help keep the flu off the holiday party guest list: Get vaccinated
08 December 2017, 12:53 | Andy Ferguson
National Foundation for Infectious Diseases
"We are seeing a lot more people that are flu positive on their tests, after they've had their flu vaccine", said Dr. Angy Yeager-Bock, a physician at Med Express Urgent Care on Markham in Little Rock.
As clinicians prepare for our influenza season, experts have been watching the Southern Hemisphere winter for hints of what might be in store.
Five children have died, and an additional 566 flu-related hospitalizations have occurred as of November 25. There are vaccines especially designed for seniors that are available this flu season. A typical case can last close to a week; serious complications include dehydration and pneumonia. While this year's vaccine works well against numerous flu virus strains out there, recent studies indicate the vaccine is less effective against the H3N2 strain. It is spread when a person who has the flu coughs, sneezes or talks, and droplets containing the flu virus are inhaled into your mouth or nose. The Centers for Disease Control recommend that all people 6 months of age and older receive an annual flu vaccine.
In the case of H3N2, the vaccine component has been genetically altered somewhat as a result of the manufacturing process, which involves growing vast quantities of the virus in eggs.
"If you're not excited about getting vaccinated yourself, do it for the people you love", Mills said.
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Clay Van Houten, of the state Health Department, says it's likely that the flu season peak is still a ways off, so it's not too late to get a flu shot.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, several strains of influenza virus are in circulation. While some people get flu even after receiving a flu shot, the vaccine frequently lessens the severity and duration of illness.
For the elderly or others who are especially vulnerable, a doctor may prescribe an antiviral medication to help lesson symptoms. Extremely rare severe allergic reactions can also occur, according to the CDC.
Doctors typically look south to get an idea of what's coming. Other groups who are at high risk include children 5 and younger, pregnant women and those with chronic medical conditions, such as asthma, diabetes or heart disease. The article's authors also noted that "the vaccine prevented about a third of all illness by all of the types of flu", Flannery said.
"We do see a predominance of the H3N2 virus that was common last season", Flannery said.
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