Flu shots for the season now available

Pneumonia vaccines will also be available at the Flu Clinic at the Senior Center. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CDC, called last year's influenza outbreak "a high severity season" across all age groups. About 80 percent of the deaths were in children who had not received a flu vaccine. The reason this is done yearly is because the virus is ever-changing; it can come in different forms.

The Health Unit is reminding everyone that the best way to protect against the influenza virus is to get the flu vaccine, which is safe.

Flu season runs from October until May, peaking in January and February.

The monitoring is done by the CDC'S U.S. Flu Vaccine Effectiveness Network, and similar studies are conducted in the United Kingdom, Canada and Finland, explains Dr. Chris Ambrose, franchise head with U.S. Medical Affairs, respiratory division at AstraZeneca, the maker of the FluMist Quadrivalent. Contact your GP surgery for the free flu vaccine.

"It's a dead virus", said Stiles, "it does not cause the flu". If you have not already done so, protect yourself and those you love this season by getting by getting your flu shot soon.

Leon's parents had planned on getting him vaccinated at a local pharmacy, but state law in Texas only allows pharmacists to administer the flu vaccine to children older than 7.

The CDC also offers a Health Care Professional Fight Flu Toolkit (www.cdc.gov) with factsheets, patient fliers and an appointment reminder email template.

Within the population, a vaccine's effectiveness varies widely because it is affected by the general health and age of the recipient. Seniors respond less well to vaccines than younger people because, as we age, our immune system functions less well.

Becoming ill with a serious infection such as flu causes blood sugar levels to rise so high that they become unsafe, which is why people with diabetes, in particular, are at serious risk. There is now a flu vaccine for people over 65 that contains four times as much antigen as regular flu shots, and one that contains an adjuvant, but those tweaks have improved effectiveness only marginally. Flu can cause severe illness and can even be fatal amongst those with a long-term health condition.

During the 2017-2018 season, 147,901 influenza vaccines were distributed.

Vanessa Coleman

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