After a slow start in October, flu season in the United States is gaining speed, particularly in the South.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, several strains of influenza virus are in circulation.
The flu season is declared under-way once we have reached an above-average number of people with influenza symptoms (i.e. more than 2.2 percent of people).
Georgia, Louisiana, Massachusetts and Oklahoma reported widespread activity during the week ended November 25, the report stated. Despite that guidance, less than half of Americans have received a shot this season. To prevent the spread of the flu, the public is reminded to cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue and wash hands often. By the end of the year, the CDC declared an epidemic, with more than 20 deaths in just a few weeks before Christmas that year.
Although H3N2 is not as virulent as some other strains of flu, it mutates very easily, making it stronger against the body's immune system. While some people get flu even after receiving a flu shot, the vaccine frequently lessens the severity and duration of illness.
"The vaccine doesn't work as well for H3N2 as we would like, but does work for some and it may provide partial protection". They say both deaths occurred in patients who were over the age of 65.
Are pregnant women getting "appropriate" care?
There's bad news about this year's flu vaccine.
Certain people are at greater risk of serious flu-related complications.
"This is the time to get a flu shot", said Mills.
Usually, a H3N2 portends a severe flu year, but mild H3N2 years have also occurred, she said.
Among health care workers who declined the vaccine, the most common reason is fear of experiencing side effects or getting sick from the vaccine.
Protecting yourself from this potentially deadly virus is surprisingly simple.
Flu shots are available at more than 300 locations around Vermont. "Getting an annual flu vaccination protects seniors, and everyone around them, too, including their grandchildren".
"Because there is a risk, there should be a choice", Smith said.
The CDC says that hospitalizations and outpatient visits because of the flu cost people more than $10 billion a year. Flu vaccines offer lasting protection against the flu for the entire flu season.