Flu season is on its way

Jill Asbury

Here's what you can do to protect yourself. Vaccines are available at pharmacies, including these at Walgreens, CVS and most doctor's offices."The 2017-18 season became the first season to be labeled as a excessive severity at some stage in all age groups", the CDC reported. The principle of "herd immunization" means that the more people in a population are covered with a vaccine, the less likely it is that there will be an epidemic.

It may be too early to tell what's on tap for this year's flu season.

The intradermal flu vaccine, a shot injected into the skin instead of the muscle using a smaller needle than the regular flu shot and requiring less antigen to be as effective as the regular flu shot, will not be available this season. Judy Tung, an internal medicine physician at New York-Presbyterian Hospital.

The vaccine is typically 40-to-60 percent effective, but seems to have been lower previous year.

Essentia Health Twin Ports Clinics or Urgent Care facilities will offer flu shots from 9 a-m to 6 p-m on weekdays between October 1st and 12th. Get vaccinated - and do it early.

Summer may just be ending, but it's already time to start thinking about the upcoming flu season.

Tennessee State Epidemiologist Tim Jones says the sooner you get that shot the better. "But [the flu shot] is recommended throughout the flu season even if you miss the preseason window". For this vaccine, the influenza A (H3N2) and both influenza B reference viruses will possible be cell-derived, and the influenza A (H1N1) will possible be egg-derived.

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"Newer recombinant technologies have broken away from our reliance on the egg-based manufacturing of flu shots and are therefore safe for people with egg allergies", she noted.

Jones says the vaccine is now available. And sometimes there are other viruses, not covered by the vaccine, that are circulating in your community.

"I know some people are wondering because previous year the flu vaccine was not very effective", German said.

People who have had a severe reaction to an influenza vaccination in the past. The high-dose option is 25 percent more effective than the standard dose.

Getting a flu shot is one of the best ways to keep your family healthy and it is recommended that everyone 6 months of age and older get vaccinated.

Up to 50% of people with the flu may not even know they have it - but for patients with weakened immune systems or respiratory problems, the flu can be life-threatening. This has been demonstrated in several randomized controlled trials, Tung said. "The flu shot itself is not a live vaccine so it can't make you sick".

"It lessens the chance you get infected and spread the virus", Topham added.

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