Flu season soars in the United States, especially in the South

This graph shows an increase in the number and percentage of people testing positive for influenza this year from October to the end of November

The flu vaccine is very effective against these, she noted.

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.

Still, McGeer said there's good evidence accumulated over time that getting the flu shot every year "is a safer and healthier thing to do for myself and better for my patients and my family".

Other explanations for Penobscot's numbers include the possibility that there are actually more flu cases in the community or that designated health care providers are being especially avid in reporting their cases.

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).

Being vaccinated better protects not only the individual, but also everyone around them.

"Because there is a risk, there should be a choice", Smith said.

The flu season is declared under-way once we have reached an above-average number of people with influenza symptoms (i.e. more than 2.2 percent of people).

The CDC confirmed flu cases in 2017 are at more than 7,000 right now, which is more than double what they were at this time a year ago. The article's authors also noted that "the vaccine prevented about a third of all illness by all of the types of flu", Flannery said.

Most Oklahoma cases involve those age 50 or older or those four and younger.

Experts say that 24 people had to be hospitalized within the last week due to the virus, bringing the total number of hospitalizations to 135.

Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease specialist at Vanderbilt University, said that vaccine effectiveness is not a simple measure. The nasal spray vaccine that has been available in recent years is no longer considered effective and is not available.

Despite those misgivings, she encourages the elderly and those with underlying heart and lung conditions or with suppressed immune systems, who are vulnerable to influenza and its complications, to get their shot to obtain "all the protection you can get".

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