First 2 flu-related deaths of season in Washoe County

Glen Mclaughlin
December 8, 2017

Flu shots help protect us from the highly contagious, debilitating illness that can have severe complications in some portions of the population.

He encourages people age 65 and older to talk with their doctor about getting one of the vaccines created to give older people a better immune response, and therefore, better protection against flu. "The vaccine doesn't work as well for H3N2 viruses in general".

There are also concerns that this year's flu shot may not be all that effective in preventing the respiratory illness.

Those who already have the flu can spread it to others even before they feel sick.

Flu activity, which has been increasing since the start of November, is now higher than usual for this time of year, according to a report published Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. No deaths have been reported in the state's two most populous counties.

Although it is relatively early in this flu season, influenza activity in SC at this point has been higher than normal.

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.

"The number of flu cases is relatively high for this time of year, and public health officials are concerned there will be a high risk of spreading the flu during the holiday season".

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"Human immune defenses become weaker with age, which places older people at greater risk of severe illness", explained Dr. Levine.

Health officials say is important for those experiencing flu-like symptoms to consult with a health care provider as soon as possible. If you're sick just stay home and get treated before you go back out.

Schwartz, who was not involved in the CDC reports, said some of her patients take the flu shot, but others do not.

Still, "I believe it's worth getting the vaccine", Siegel said.

Lin, who chaired the meeting, said that doctors have reported that while hepatitis A vaccines have been administered to children older than 12 months, they are not included in subsidies for children's standard vaccinations, which might result in doctors being unable to apply for reimbursement of vaccination costs. "So if you need to be out and about running errands and meeting up with friends and family, it's wise to protect yourself-and them-as best you can".

"We do see a predominance of the H3N2 virus that was common last season", Flannery said.

Lisa Smith said she thinks everyone should think critically about the vaccine before they roll up a sleeve. And in Australia, which used the identical vaccine as Canada's this past season, its effectiveness against H3N2 infection was far less - only about 10 per cent.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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