Health officials: Time to get your flu shot

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The flu season is declared under-way once we have reached an above-average number of people with influenza symptoms (i.e. more than 2.2 percent of people).

The report stated that Georgia, Louisiana, Massachusetts and Oklahoma have reported widespread activity during the week ending November 25.

This is National Influenza Vaccination Week (Dec. 3-9), and there is no better time to remind not only older adults, but everyone to get their annual flu vaccine. Common concerns focus on efficacy of the vaccine and side effects.

Other than the vaccine you should also take preventive actions every day to stop the spread of germs like, washing your hands, covering your cough or sneeze and avoiding close contact with people who are sick.

The flu usually comes on suddenly and often with a fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, and headaches. Most people recover in less than two weeks. Flu related complications can include pneumonia and dehydration. "We want to help educate grandparents to understand the seriousness of the flu and their higher risk of developing complications from this unsafe and potentially deadly disease".

"The absolute best thing you can do to prevent illness, hospitalizations and even death from flu complications, is to get your flu shot", said Dr. Levine.

The number of flu vaccines given out at the Wichita Falls-Wichita County Public Health District is also up. If you're sick just stay home and get treated before you go back out.

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And while it may not work well against H3N2, she said it's worth getting the shot for protection against infection with H1N1 and even the B strain (the B/Victoria components may offer cross-protection against B/Yamagata). The dominant flu virus strain is H3N2, which can result in more severe illnesses than other strains.

Doctors recommend the flu shot over the mist to increase effectiveness.

"Because there is a risk, there should be a choice", Smith said. Children, pregnant women, and those 65 and older are at particular risk, as are those with chronic lung conditions.

And the vaccine is no guarantee of protection.

Data from the CDC's interactive flu-tracking site show cases of people falling ill with "influenza-like illnesses" (ILI) are more widespread than in previous years.

The flu season is finally upon us, but recent reports revealed that this year's flu shot may be ineffective.

She urged the Ministry of Health and Welfare to put the plan on hold until it has evaluated demand for the vaccines and secured funding to cover the costs of sourcing, delivering and administering them.

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