Flu season could be worse this year, doctors say


Although it is hard to predict an influenza season, the authors noted that when A (H3N2) viruses was the dominant influenza strain in past seasons, hospitalizations and deaths were more common and the effectiveness of the vaccine was lower. "The flu shot is your best defense against getting the flu and that remains to be the case".

"It's also important for all of us to do the simple things like washing your hands, coughing in your sleeve to try and protect those who are at high risk" Shabab said.

"It can be lower if you're older or very young, but that still doesn't mean you shouldn't get vaccinated", Shahab said. This may be why so many people got the flu despite getting immunized.

There have already been more than seven thousand confirmed flu cases during the current flu season nationwide, according to the Center for Disease Control.

The Illinois Department of Public Health says as of last week, there have been 45 flu-related ICU admissions and one pediatric death across the state. "But right now we really don't have any great estimate for the USA and how effective our flu vaccines are so far this year". At this time previous year, Memorial Medical Center in Springfield had treated 14 cases of influenza. Additionally, if you are sick, then you will need to stay home and rest.

The biggest drop in flu shot rates was seen among Hispanic adults (down 7.7 percent from last year).

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Experts have known for years that the success of a flu vaccine greatly lies with the manufacturer's ability to accurately predict which virus strain will spread the incoming flu season.

The 10 percent figure is mainly due to the fact that the flu virus that hit Australia this year, whose flu season coincides with the US summertime, was the H3N2 strain. And that last season, Rigler continued, lasted unusually long, into the summer months, with 100 or more cases a week into June and July.

Heather Ren, with HSHS St. John's Hospital in Springfield says even in a good year, the flu vaccine is roughly 60% effective.

"I highly recommend the vaccine", Shelton said, noting that all the health district offices still have plenty of the vaccine available. But remember, the vaccine gives you protection against three or four flu strains, making it more effective.

Today, H1N1 simply is one of many flu strains that are tracked, and like the others, causes the usual flu symptoms and reappears every so often. It takes roughly two weeks for the body to develop antibodies after the vaccine is administered, health officials say.