NYC reports first pediatric flu death of season

Flu Activity Is Low -- For Now

They do have a shot nurse in the office at all times and no appointment is necessary for children to get the flu shot. H3N2 was the predominant strain through February, with influenza B becoming more common in March, which isn't unusual for the latter part of the flu season. A flu shot for uninsured patients ages 6 months to 64 years costs $35.

Lehan Drugs - a family-owned, multigenerational pharmacy opened in 1946, with locations at 1850 Gateway Drive, Sycamore; 1407 S. Fourth St.in DeKalb; and 811 S. Perryville Road, Rockford - typically sees 1,500 to 2,000 people come in for flu shots in October and November.

Does getting a flu shot every year diminish its power to protect children? Flu vaccine, while far from flawless, reduces illness and serious complications, such as hospitalizations and admission to intensive-care units. This includes women who are pregnant. "Vaccination is the best tool we have to prevent the flu and it is also extremely important to take simple preventive steps to avoid the flu and other illnesses that tend to circulate at this time of year - wash your hands frequently, cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze and stay home when you're sick".

There have been questions about whether people really need a fresh flu shot every year.

The Flu Shot Monitor found that here in Nashville, only 61 percent of seniors plan to get vaccinated this season. The city also noted disparities in flu vaccination among different racial groups: With 38 percent, Black adults are least likely to get vaccinated, compared to 45 percent of Whites, 46 percent of Latinos and 47 percent of Asians. Of the pediatric flu deaths reported in last year's season, more than one-third of these occurred among healthy children between the ages of 6 months and 4 years. However, ACIP recommends that FluMist once again be an option for vaccination during the 2018-2019 influenza season for persons for whom it is age-appropriate and who have no medical contraindications.

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And those children who had gotten a flu shot the prior year in 2012 saw no impact whatsoever on the protective strength of their 2013 IIV shot, with respect to both types of flu.

The most effective way to protect yourself against the flu is by getting the flu shot.

The flu vaccine is especially important in light of the severe season experienced previous year across the U.S. The CDC reports that more than 900,000 flu-related hospitalizations occurred and more than 80,000 people died as a result of flu. A few small studies, including one out of Canada, have suggested that getting the flu vaccine yearly might increase some people's risk of catching the virus, even though it's hard to explain why that might happen.

"Now is the ideal time to get vaccinated ... it gives your body enough time to respond to the vaccine and mount a good immune response so you're ready for the flu season", Fry said. "However, at this point in time, there is no proven correlation between the flu vaccine or the influenza virus itself".

There's more about flu shot recommendations at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. For example, a polio vaccine is made from the poliovirus, but the germs in the vaccine are either inactivated (killed) or weakened, making it impossible to get you sick. It was dominated by an especially fierce virus strain.

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