Published: Fri, December 08, 2017
Medical | By Josefina Yates

Health officials: 135 people hospitalized with the flu this season

Health officials: 135 people hospitalized with the flu this season

Although it is relatively early in this flu season, influenza activity in SC at this point has been higher than normal.

The CDC says a study done this year showed that flu vaccination reduced the risk of flu-associated death by half (51 percent) among children with underlying high-risk medical conditions and by almost two-thirds (65 percent) among healthy children.

"When we measure vaccine effectiveness, that's effectiveness against protecting against disease completely", said Schaffner, who was not involved in the CDC research, though he is a liaison representative of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, which develops recommendations on the use of vaccines for the CDC. Individuals can contact the health department at 325-646-0554 for information about the cost of the flu vaccine for children. Some flu shots protect against three flu viruses and some protect against four flu viruses.

Some people are more vulnerable to serious flu illness, including infants, children, elders and people with certain chronic health issues.

"The vaccine doesn't work as well for H3N2 as we would like, but does work for some and it may provide partial protection".

"We do see a predominance of the H3N2 virus that was common last season", Flannery said.

Typically the elderly and young kids have higher chances of catching the flu.

Each year, hundreds of thousands Americans are hospitalized for flu and thousands die, according to the CDC.

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Each flu season is unique; the timing of the peak activity and how severe a season will be are hard to predict, making it very important to protect yourself against flu as early as possible.

However, doctors insist we can not underestimate the importance of "herd immunity", and that the shot may be more effective as lessening illness in those who do get sick.

Final thoughts from the doctors, they said it's still too early to tell if this season's vaccines are fully effective.

Usually, a H3N2 portends a severe flu year, but mild H3N2 years have also occurred, she said.

Schwartz, who was not involved in the CDC reports, said some of her patients take the flu shot, but others do not.

Dr. Marc Siegel is an infectious diseases expert from NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City.

"It makes me a little sad that people across the country - especially pregnant women - may not be getting the recommended and appropriate health care", Altmann said.

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