February 16, 2019

Last year's flu season was deadliest in decades, says CDC

30 September 2018, 01:03 | Randall Craig

Get Ready, Medical Folks Say Another 'Bad' Flu Season Coming

100 years ago death came with astonishing speed. In October 1918 some influenza patients admitted in the morning would be dead by the evening

Federal health officials did not recommend the nasal spray the past two years because of low effectiveness.

"Deaths related to flu are tragic reminders that the flu virus needs to be taken very seriously", according to Calaveras Health Officer Dr. Kelaita, who adds, "A yearly flu shot is the best way to protect against infection and prevent others from coming down with the flu". Last year, for example, it provided 90% protection against one of the strains of flu.

Flu killed and hospitalized more people in the United States last winter than any seasonal influenza in decades, according to new data released Thursday.

This is perhaps not the most encouraging news as the seasons begin to change and we head into another flu seasons.

This POD (Point of Dispense) Clinic is targeted to protect all college students (regardless of age) in Pennington County, and is also available throughout Pennington County for children 6 months through age 18 years. With October close at hand, it's important to go ahead and get that vaccination because protective antibodies can take up to two weeks to develop. "It is critical that we focus national attention on the importance of influenza vaccination to protect as many people as possible every season".

Still, even the relatively weak flu shot probably saved many lives, CDC experts say, so everyone should avail themselves of the shot again this season. Local hospitals report they have already seen cases of the flu.

The CDC uses mathematical modeling to estimate total flu-related deaths. It cannot. It's a killed virus that just stimulates your immune system to make its own flu virus attack cells.

CDC officials called the 80,000 figure preliminary, and it may be slightly revised. They include the belief you do not need one if you are healthy (35%), concerns about negative side effects (25%), and worries the vaccine would make them sick (23%). Even if someone does catch the flu after getting the vaccine, symptoms are likely to be less severe.

Officials noted flu vaccine is available at numerous places, including drugstores, grocery stores and at many workplaces. In severe years, the flu season death toll has spiked to around 56,000.

And how bad is it going to be?

Stevenson said the flu vaccine is an important piece in protecting a community's vulnerable population, such as the elderly or babies.

The agency estimates that the 2017-2018 vaccine, despite offering only 40 percent protection, prevented 5.3 million illnesses and 85,000 hospitalizations. Not only did it start earlier at the end of last year, it stayed steady well into the beginning of this year, hitting a peak in early March.

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