Flu vaccine remains a shot in the dark

The National Advisory Committee on Immunizations recommends people six months of age and older get vaccinated against the flu every year

They stress the most important thing is to just get vaccinated. Based on CDC recommendations, late October is actually the optimal time to get the flu vaccine because it takes about two weeks for the body to develop the antibodies that protect against the flu, and the developed immune response tends to decline over time.

The Ottawa County Department of Public Health tells 13 ON YOUR SIDE FluMist is another option but they say it will likely come later and have a limited supply available. The CDC says about 80 percent of those children did not get the vaccination.

The CDC says more than 700,000 people nationwide went to hospitals with flu symptoms previous year, which is one of the reasons the state Health Department is urging Central Georgians to get a flu shot now.

The flu shot is recommended annually because of decreasing antibodies over the year and changes in the flu virus from year-to-year. Those at greater risk include anyone with certain chronic medical conditions, pregnant women, those working in the healthcare industry, and those living with or in close contact with high risk individuals or children less than six months of age. The vaccine will be matched to four strains this year, including H3N2 (the dominant strain last year). This costs an estimated $10.4 billion a year in direct medical expenses and an additional $16.3 billion in lost earnings annually, according to the CDC. No, not fall: Flu season. There were also 150 deaths, including five children, in Georgia.

We're being a bit sarcastic, but flu season will soon be upon us - and if it's anything like a year ago, we're in for another risky (and deadly) period. Patients were included if they were at least 1-year-old and had seen a doctor within seven days of the onset of flu-like symptoms.

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"Our 13 health departments within our district are ready to start vaccinating people against the flu, and of course we want people who are being vaccinated to be vaccinated early", Michael Hokanson with the North Central Health District said.

Older adults are also more likely to suffer complications from flu.

The CDC said it can't predict whether this season's vaccine will be a particularly good match for the circulating viruses, but experts say even if a particular batch of flu vaccine offers less-than-ideal protection, some protection is still better than none. They went on to add that millions of people get affected by the flu every year and nearly thousands expire from the all the possible causes of flu.

Every flu season is different, and influenza infection can affect people differently, but millions of people get the flu every year, hundreds of thousands of people are hospitalized and thousands or tens of thousands of people die from flu-related causes every year.


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