It's also important to contact your health care provider as soon as possible after flu symptoms begin, especially if you are at high risk of complications and serious disease. While you should've gotten the shot weeks, if not a few months ago, it's not too late. "When H3 [strains] are predominant, we tend to have a worse flu season with more hospitalizations and more deaths".
Jernigan characterized the current flu season as "on the severe side", but said it does not appear to be as severe as the 2014/2015 flu season, which was also driven by an H3N2 virus.
The vaccine may be less effective against H3N2 strains because it's manufactured in chicken eggs, which some recent research has shown interact with H3 strains, making them less like the circulating strain and therefore less effective. Five of the eight individuals had an underlying health condition.
According to the CDC, there has been a jump in hospitalizations in young children and people over 50. Health officials urge people in high-risk groups-babies, seniors, and those with compromised immune systems-to get vaccinated against the flu.
Since October 1, 2017, 14 influenza-related deaths have been reported.
"What makes this season remarkable is it seems to have hit very quickly in a concentrated way", state epidemiologist Dr. Thomas Safranek said. We're up at 5.8% [of all patient visits attributed to the flu], which is a slight increase from last week.
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But the severity of this flu season isn't expected to be quite as bad as the 2014-15 season, during which vaccine effectiveness was very low and there were about 700,000 hospitalizations.
If you get the flu, stay home and rest so you don't spread it to other people.
With flu season on the horizon, some emergency rooms in B.C. are feeling the pressure, according to the Provincial Health Officer.
The shots will be distributed on a first-come basis, while supplies last, at its community clinics, officials said.
"Influenza vaccine is still available and people can still get immunized".
H3N2, which is the dominant flu in both Canada and the US, is prone to mutation, which can make the vaccine against it less effective - even though it appears the virus strain was correctly predicted.
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