Early flu season could leave more North Dakotans sick

Expect a Bad Flu Season

Expect a Bad Flu Season

Some flu shots protect against three flu viruses and some protect against four flu viruses.

More than 7,000 cases of the flu have already been confirmed in the U.S.

Although H3N2 is not as virulent as some other strains of flu, it mutates very easily, making it stronger against the body's immune system.

Though the accuracy and effectiveness of each year's vaccine varies, this year's seems on track to provide good protection against the Influenza A strains now predominating, health officials say.

In its weekly FluWatch report, the Public Health Agency of Canada says the annual sneezing-coughing season began early this year - especially with illness due to influenza B - and the percentage of laboratory-positive tests for flu is higher at this point on the calendar compared with previous seasons.

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The number of influenza-associated hospitalizations reported in individuals in the 65 years and older age group is almost double the average number of cases reported over the past five flu seasons.

No, we aren't talking about the holidays, but flu season. While some people get flu even after receiving a flu shot, the vaccine frequently lessens the severity and duration of illness.

Between twelve-thousand and fifty-six-thousand deaths each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

For the elderly or others who are especially vulnerable, a doctor may prescribe an antiviral medication to help lesson symptoms.

Among health care workers who declined the vaccine, the most common reason is fear of experiencing side effects or getting sick from the vaccine.

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

"It hits you like a freight train", she said. The newest department of health numbers confirm that flu season is here. "H3N2 seasons have been more severe in terms of hospitalization and death, especially in the elderly and young children; that's a concern".

"The effectiveness changes from year to year", says Spicer. You're less likely to have severe flu.

And in Australia, where the winter flu season has just wrapped up, this season's vaccine was only about 10 percent effective against the H3N2 strain.

And while it may not work well against H3N2, she said it's worth getting the shot for protection against infection with H1N1 and even the B strain (the B/Victoria components may offer cross-protection against B/Yamagata).

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