Health Care

Flu deaths on the rise this season

This season's flu vaccine seems to be working pretty well, weakening the punch of a nasty bug that's going around, USA health officials said Thursday. "If you haven't yet gotten the vaccine, it is not too late". Experts consider it a good year when a flu vaccine is 50 percent to 60 percent effective.

The Shelby County Health Department is now offering free flu shots at all of their clinics.

Dr. Ryan Lewis, a board of health member and co-owner of Star ER, said he's seen a spike in flu cases within the past two weeks - several cases were diagnosed in people who had received flu immunizations.

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Flu season is in full swing but should calm down around the end of March, beginning of April. According to United States health officials, the vaccine has been a great help in preventing the illness. As a result, the CDC says the overall protection against the flu this year is 48%. Plus, it is better to have half the chance of getting the flu than not having any protection at all. Health officials were anxious that fewer kids would get vaccinated this season after they stopped endorsing a popular nasal spray version. Tough, it might seem like a lot of cases, Rigler assures that many cases have been halved his year.

Board members mentioned Trinity Christian School, which closed two days at the end of last week to allow students and staff to recover from flu and strep infections.

"Every year influenza causes millions of illnesses and many hospitalizations and even deaths in Tennessee and across the U.S. We know getting a flu shot will help save lives and reduce the number of flu-related illnesses and deaths, so we urge everyone who hasn't been vaccinated this flu season to do the right thing and get a flu shot now, " states Dreyzehner.

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Flu activity has been moderate so far this season, according to a recent report from the CDC.

We're only halfway through the season, and Jessica Rigler with the Arizona Department of Health Services says it's still a good idea to get the shot. Older adults also get less benefit from flu vaccines than healthy younger people. That's much higher than the hospitalization rate for the flu that occurred around this time past year (during February 2016), when there were about 2 hospitalizations per 100,000 people.

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