Flu Season Begins in the United States

Flu Season Begins in the United States

One of the best preventative measures is to get a flu vaccination.

Vaccines in the United States this season are created to protect against two A strains (H1N1 and H3N2) and up to two B strains (B/Victoria lineage and B/Yamagata lineage), according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The flu virus changes from year to year, and this year's vaccine protects against the flu viruses that are expected to cause the most illness this flu season.

Everyone older than six months old should get the vaccine, including pregnant women. Sometimes, the infection can also occur by touching surfaces or objects contaminated with the flu virus and then touching the eyes, mouth or nose. The highest rate was among children age 6 months to 2 years old, at 7.3 percent it was the only group that exceeded the national public health goal of 70 percent coverage.

In Idaho, a state resident has died in what health officials are saying is their first flu death of the season.

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People with allergies to vaccine ingredients can often receive the vaccine safely, if it is given in a doctors office where they can be monitored. A year ago the first flu-related death in Idaho occurred in December, and a total of 72 individuals in the state died due to flu-related illnesses.

"Influenza is an unpredictable infectious disease", said Dr. William Schaffner, professor of preventive medicine at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. Those without insurance can go to a county public health center. Getting a flu shot can not cause you to get influenza. But unlike the common cold or "stomach flu", influenza can make you severely ill.

San Diego County's Health and Human Services Agency announced Wednesday that the number if influenza cases rose sharply as compared to this time past year. The country of Australia is experiencing the worst flu epidemic in 50 years. It also helps to prevent spreading flu to your family and other people.

Flu shots are not flawless, but they are the best protection modern science has against the disease.

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