Saturday, 16 February, 2019

Health officials encourage Albertans to get their 'very effective' flu shot

Alex Hogan  STAT Alex Hogan STAT
Anna Jefferson | 26 January, 2019, 09:57

The H1N1 virus strain is the most widely confirmed influenza A strain this season, however H3 viruses are dominating in the southeastern United States, the CDC reported Friday. This year we have had very little "B" but that's not to say we won't see it. The 2009 H1N1 strain is still dominant in most of the country, except for in the southeast where H3N2 has been more common.

Flu season generally lasts into March or even April, Henry adds. The reports lift the season's number of pediatric flu deaths to 22. The CDC reports that the majority of people who have gotten measles in recent years were not vaccinated. "There aren't zero deaths in other age groups". That can be a factor, Richard Watkins, MD, an infectious disease physician in Akron, Ohio, and an associate professor of internal medicine at Northeast Ohio Medical University, tells Yahoo Lifestyle.

As for whether this season has been weaker than others, Henry says it depends on how you look at it, pointing out younger people are better able to fight the virus.

The department of health defines a flu-related death as a "death resulting from a clinically compatible illness that was confirmed to be influenza by an appropriate laboratory or rapid diagnostic test with no period of complete recovery between the illness and death".

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"That's why it was important for us to get this (vaccine effectiveness) estimate out because it's offering substantial protection, which may still be important in areas where there is elevated activity. It's hard to say what flu is doing". "Everybody's infection and their experience with the flu is a little bit idiosyncratic", Adalja says. The flu can also cause secondary infections to the body - any of which can lead to failure of vital organs and death.

If you suspect that you have the flu, Adalja recommends visiting your doctor ASAP.

About 98 percent of the 752 influenza-positive tests reported to CDC were influenza A viruses. Dr. Zimmerman also notes that incentives-like insurance companies offering credits or lowered copays-help people get vaccinated. "This happens every season", Adalja says. Barriers to vaccination include not having appropriate health insurance coverage and a lack of knowledge about which vaccinations to get at what age. "It's not too late".

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