Health officials: Flu shot may only be 10% effective this season

Health officials: Flu shot may only be 10% effective this season

"Flu viruses are notoriously unpredictable, but from the information I've received, all indications point to a possibly severe flu season in Vermont". But the Southern Hemisphere experienced an especially bad season over the summer (their winter), with Australia reporting record-high numbers of influenza cases and a higher-than-average number of hospitalizations and deaths. It is spread when a person who has the flu coughs, sneezes or talks, and droplets containing the flu virus are inhaled into your mouth or nose.

"Especially now, during the holiday season of crowds and gatherings of friends and family, everyone older than 6 months should get a flu shot", said Vermont Health Commissioner Mark Levine, MD.

The policy is meant to protect those with weakened immune systems or are receiving treatment of one kind or another. Flu related complications can include pneumonia and dehydration.

Some people are more vulnerable to serious flu illness, including infants, children, elders and people with certain chronic health issues. "Even if it's not a flawless match, it's very important, not just for yourself, but also to protect those with whom you may come in contact - including babies too young to get vaccinated and people who have weakened immune systems".

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Clay Van Houten, of the state Health Department, says it's likely that the flu season peak is still a ways off, so it's not too late to get a flu shot.

Circulating influenza strains may mutate after the World Health Organization decides what should go into that year's vaccine. Qualifying children and adolescents can receive flu vaccine provided by the Texas Vaccines for Children program. "The most important thing is still to get your flu vaccine".

For answers to questions about the flu and the flu vaccine, people can access the CDC website at www.cdc.gov, or contact the Brownwood/Brown County Health Department at 325-646-0554.

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