Flu still widespread in Alabama, but season may be peaking

Flu still widespread in Alabama, but season may be peaking

Influenza vaccine is still available across OH as flu-like illness continues to increase and the number-of associated hospitalizations remains high. The current vaccine is a good match, and includes a strain of Type A H3N2 flu virus that is causing most illnesses.

Although the numbers sound bleak, experts say this is in fact progress.

Idaho's state flu surveillance coordinator, Dr. Leslie Tengelsen, says so far this season 47 flu-related deaths have been reported.

'It's good news and underscores the importance and the benefit of both annual and ongoing vaccination efforts this season'.

Preliminary figures suggest the vaccine is 48 percent effective. It can cut the chances of getting the flu in half.

Clay added that some students are "hesitant to get the vaccine around the midterms because they think it might make them sick, and it would undermine their performance especially during the exam season". In total, 157 deaths were recorded - 141 of them children.

"Really to about the last two weeks we have not seen the flu, and then definitely in the last two weeks we have seen an increase in the number of flu cases", she said. "In addition, it is important that people wash hands, cover coughs, and stay home when they have influenza-like illnesses". As Flannery explained, the H3N2 was not seen much during last season, but it's the same virus that first appeared in the 2014-2015 season. In fact, the vaccines this year are considered a good match to all now circulating strains. Additionally, the vaccine protects people for just a few months after it's given.

Flannery explained that there are differences depending on age or even the immune status of the person being vaccinated. "You won't have to be admitted to the hospital, you won't have to go to the ICU, and you won't die".

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Flu activity is still widespread, the CDC warns, and the threat is far from over. "We would certainly expect for influenza activity to continue on for several weeks".

Flu shots are recommended for virtually all Americans age 6 months or older.

Dr William Schaffner, an infectious disease specialist, said although he was glad to hear of the vaccine's effectiveness, he believed more could be done.

"So half a loaf is better than none", said Schaffner.

Flu season is here with seasonal flu activity reported across Tennessee.

'Still, we can do a lot of good with a pretty good vaccine available today'.

Cases of the flu doubled in Arizona, with 752 cases reported last week alone.

Even if you've already been sick, he said, it's not too late to get the shot.