New flu strain may top last season's deadly outbreak

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The Trusts' Chief Executive Ken Bremner said: "Health workers have a duty to protect patients and service users from infection and our annual staff flu immunisation campaign is always an important part of our preparation for winter when health services - particularly urgent and emergency care - traditionally come under great pressure". This includes being exposed to the flu virus before your shot takes effect, contracting a different strain of the virus, or having adverse, flu-like side effects because of the vaccine.

Hasty said last flu season also had several anomalies, such as patients who tested positive for both strains of flu and the vaccine did not cover the main strains of the virus most prevalent last season. The other main version of the vaccine is the mist, which is produced using a weakened version of the virus, while technically a "live" virus, the mechanism for infection has been eliminated so it can not cause illness either.

This doesn't mean you shouldn't be prepared. Sudbury has more than 50 local pharmacists that participate in the universal influenza program who will be administering flu vaccines. "Vaccines work - they prevent disease and most importantly, they prevent death".

Which viruses am I protected against?

Last year, influenza killed about 80,000 people, including 180 children, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Inactivated influenza vaccine (IIV), recombinant influenza vaccine (RIV) and live attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV) are all fair game. Of those who died, 42 percent were known to have been vaccinated, and 58 percent were either not vaccinated or had no documentation of flu vaccine, said to DHHS spokesman Cobey Culton. Introduced a year ago, the high-dose vaccine may provide better protection for those at increased risk of complications from the flu, potentially reducing the number of outbreaks experienced in long-term care facilities.

Your immune system may be strong enough to protect you from experiencing flu symptoms, but what about your grandparents, your baby nephew, or your friend with a weakened immune system? An average of 200 thousand people will be hospitalized from the flu every year. In Buncombe County, an elderly person reportedly died from the flu, while a 29-year-old lawyer from Benson died a week ago of a cardiac event following complications from the flu.

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"As a pediatrician I engage with families so, you know, we try to make it a family sport when it's time for flu vaccines", White said.

You can find out where to get your flu shot by visiting Public Health Sudbury and Districts' immunization page. Before you take their word for it and embark on flu season unprotected, hear out Brendan Webster, occupational health nurse with Staff Wellness, as he busts five common myths about influenza vaccine. It comes down to the amount of the people the flu affects.

"The vaccine covered four of the viruses circulating globally, including the Flu A (H1N1) that we are now seeing most commonly in New Zealand".

Getting vaccinated if you are healthy helps to protect our most vulnerable populations.

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