Health officials: Time to get your flu shot

National Foundation for Infectious Diseases

You're less likely to have severe flu.

"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.

However, Australia also experienced significant cases of influenza B, said Skowronski, and parts of Canada appear to be mimicking that pattern in the early months of the Northern hemisphere's flu season. The flu vaccine changes each year in anticipation of the strains mostly likely to predominate in the season ahead. The flu usually peaks in January or February, but it can occur as early as October and as late as May. A typical case can last close to a week; serious complications include dehydration and pneumonia.

A report published today shows the rate of adults getting vaccinated against influenza this year has dropped 3.7 percent, meaning just a third of adults and children are protected.

Still, McGeer said there's good evidence accumulated over time that getting the flu shot every year "is a safer and healthier thing to do for myself and better for my patients and my family".

"We recommend that for everyone 6 months and older, if you haven't received your vaccine yet, now is the time to get it", said Shannon Stokley, an associate director for science in the immunization services division at the CDC.

For answers to questions about the flu and the flu vaccine, people can access the CDC website at www.cdc.gov, or contact the Brownwood/Brown County Health Department at 325-646-0554.

The authors want that however imperfect, though, current influenza vaccines remain a valuable public health tool, and it is always better to get vaccinated than not to get vaccinated.

To find a vaccine site, visit the "Flu" page on the website of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

There are also concerns that this year's flu shot may not be all that effective in preventing the respiratory illness. "So you don't take it home to someone you love", Dillaha said.

For the elderly or others who are especially vulnerable, a doctor may prescribe an antiviral medication to help lesson symptoms.

Doctors typically look south to get an idea of what's coming.

Still, "I believe it's worth getting the vaccine", Siegel said.

This fall Harvest Drug & Gifts has given between 500 to 600 flu vaccines.

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