Flu season deaths top 80,000 last year, CDC says

Get Ready, Medical Folks Say Another 'Bad' Flu Season Coming

The influenza flu season is claiming tens of thousands of lives in the United States, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention revealed. The lighthearted demonstration was accompanied by grim statistics from the 2017-18 flu season: 80,000 deaths overall, including 180 children.

Southwick said children and the elderly are most at risk of serious complications from the flu, and she highly encourages they get a vaccine before flu season gets into full swing.

"Last year it was just a awful season", Daniel Jernigan, head of the CDC's influenza division, told the media. "The flu vaccine protects those who receive it as well as those in the community who can not be vaccinated due to medical conditions". So it's critically important that we impress upon folks that it is not just for them. "Getting vaccinated is the socially responsible thing to do".

The season began with an increase of illness in November; high activity occurred during January and February, and then illness continued through the end of March.

Flu vaccines are a safe procedure despite some common misconceptions that it causes the flu or other medical complications, said Teri Stevenson, a pediatrician at Mayo Clinic Health System in Eau Claire. Per the CDC, some children 6 months through 8 years of age will require two doses of flu vaccine for adequate protection from flu. Severity is based on flu activity, hospitalizations, and deaths from pneumonia or influenza, explained Nordlund.

Swanson, who heads digital innovation at Seattle Children's Hospital, recently created a new skill for Amazon.com's voice-assistant device, Alexa, called Flu Doctor to answer questions about flu. "It seems like we're in a better position this year". The numbers vary each year depending on how bad the flu season is.

The shots are inactivated vaccines, meaning the virus is dead and can not cause influenza.

There was a 2.2 percent decline in vaccination rates among children age 6 months through 4 years. There was a large geographic variability in vaccination coverage among children, ranging from a high of 76.2 percent in Rhode Island to a low of 43.2 percent in Wyoming. Even if someone does catch the flu after getting the vaccine, symptoms are likely to be less severe. Drugmakers still grow vaccines in chicken eggs - a technique developed in the 1940s. "Give the vaccine credit for softening the blow", said Dr. Schaffner. "I'm afraid we've also learned that after acute flu, recovery may not be complete".

"Human viruses were never meant to grow in eggs", said Bruce Clark, Medicago chief executive officer.

The CDC culled some other interesting information from the survey.

Local pharmacists around the county also offer flu vaccines, including the pharmacies at Walmart, Safeway, Rite Aid and Bi-Mart. However, H3N2 was particularly resistant to the flu vaccine.

"We are encouraging everyone to get their flu vaccination and we hope this effort to make it cost-free to individuals will make it more accessible", said Cherokee County Regional Director Maria Alexander. "Low efficacy rates don't help".

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