Expect a Bad Flu Season

Expect a Bad Flu Season

National Influenza Week stresses importance of vaccinations

The four most deadly flu seasons of the last 10 years - in the winters of 2003-2004, 2007-2008, 2012-2013, and 2014-15 - were H3N2 seasons, each with a particular version of that flu type.

Like it or not, flu season is here.

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.

In the case of H3N2, the vaccine component has been genetically altered somewhat as a result of the manufacturing process, which involves growing vast quantities of the virus in eggs.

Health experts are warning that this year could be a rough year for the the flu. "It's best to get it now and not wait until the flu is more widespread", Beard said.

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Flu shots help protect us from the highly contagious, debilitating illness that can have severe complications in some portions of the population.

Dukes says getting a shot is still the most effective way to prevent the flu or mitigate the symptoms should you come down with the illness.

"So given that, particularly for the H3N2 component, the vaccine effectiveness we're anticipating will be low", predicted Skowronski.

Dr. Allison McGeer, director of infection control at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto, said lab testing in Ontario is turning up "quite a lot of B isolates, almost as many Bs as H3N2".

The flu is being seen throughout the country and is very active in the South and New England, but it's not too late to get vaccinated, she said. Five children have died, and an additional 566 flu-related hospitalizations have occurred as of November 25.

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"The difference is the cold is going to last about two weeks and you may not have the achiness that you have a long with the flu", Hubenka said.

Smith said she suffered temporary paralysis after getting the shot.

Other than the vaccine you should also take preventive actions every day to stop the spread of germs like, washing your hands, covering your cough or sneeze and avoiding close contact with people who are sick.

"The most predictable thing about flu is that it's unpredictable", Brammer said.

"We have some evidence that the vaccination protects the woman from influenza herself, and it can protect the infant in the six months of life from getting influenza before we are able to vaccinate the infant", Flannery said. "I believe there is a booster effect, although I can't prove that".

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