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Flu Season Is Here, Vaccination Advised

Dec 7th, 2012

Flu SeasonFlu season is already here, threatening U.S. residents, especially those living in the south and the southeast states, health officials warned.

“It looks like it’s shaping up to be a bad flu season,” said Dr. Thomas Frieden, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) director.

According to the agency’s report published on Nov. 30, 48 states have already reported lab-confirmed flu cases. Furthermore, the percentage of individuals seeking medical attention for flu-like symptoms is rapidly increasing nationwide. Flu season may kick in as early as October, but peaks on January or February and sometimes persists until May.

Every year, flu causes more than 220,000 hospitalizations and claims an average of about 36,000 lives, according to the CDC.

“Increasing flu activity should be a wake-up call. For anyone who has put off vaccination: It’s time to get your flu vaccine now,” said Dr. Melinda Wharton, deputy director of CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases.

The CDC recommends annual flu vaccinations for anyone six months and older. It is never too late to get a shot as the flu season is likely to continue until May, the agency said.

“How well the vaccine works depends in part on the match between vaccine viruses and circulating viruses,” Wharton said. “If the influenza viruses spreading are very different from the vaccine viruses, the vaccine won’t work as well. While it’s early in the season, it’s encouraging to see a well-matched vaccine so far. That bodes well for how well this season’s vaccine will protect against illness, hospitalizations and deaths.”

The flu is a highly contagious respiratory illness caused by viruses. It usually comes on suddenly and can cause mild to severe illness or even death. Symptoms of the flu include fever, cough, fatigue, headaches, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle ache, vomiting and diarrhea (more common in children).

The flu may also cause serious health complications especially among pregnant women, children under five years old, adults 65 years and older, and those with certain medical conditions.

Source: VISTA Health Solutions

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