Staff Ed: Getting flu shot protects community

Each year, more than 200,000 people are hospitalized in the United States from flu complications.

Flu vaccine will be offered by the Putnam County Department of Health in all school districts this fall for students and staff.

The most recent flu-related death was a lawyer from Fayetteville, N.C. The "Good Morning America" report said that 29- year-old Scarlett Levinson died of complications from the flu at her home on October 2, with her husband discovering her unconscious in the bathroom.

Twenty-eight percent believe the flu shot causes autism.

In Collingwood, you can get the flu shot at your doctor's office, from a nurse practitioner, and at any local pharmacy (children five years or older).

The nasal spray is an option for most children and adults younger than 50 years old.

While the department did not release the child's name, age, gender or location, it said the child had not been vaccinated before contracting the flu.

Some people are at high risk for serious flu-related complications, like pneumonia, that can lead to hospitalization and even death.

Health officials in Florida identified the lethal strain as influenza B, which is less common and generally less severe than Influenza A, though both strains infect humans. That means there is a window for people to get sick with the flu.

During the 2017-18 flu season, the infectious disease sent 1,390 Rhode Islanders to the hospital, resulting in 60 deaths.

It's that time of year again, time for Canadians to think about getting that jab in the arm to protect themselves against the dreaded winter scourge - the flu. Now is the best time to get the shot for protection throughout the entire flu season, which usually peaks in January and can last until May. "Herd immunity" is a theory that if everyone in a group or community is vaccinated against a particular illness, such as the flu, everyone will be protected against that illness.

According to the Public Health Agency of Canada's FluWatch, there were 64,403 lab-confirmed cases of influenza in Canada last season, mostly Influenza A/H3N2.

Looking at weather patterns and using statistics and other data, health professionals make an educated guess of which strains will be the most contagious during each flu season, Lin explained.

"Getting vaccinated is the best line of defense against flu", said Dr. Karen Smith, CDPH Director and State Public Health Officer. Ask your health care provider what preventative care is necessary for you based on age, gender, family history, and other health risk factors. It takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies that protect against flu to develop in the body. However the true death rate from the flu is likely to be in the hundreds across the province. In addition, many clinics and pharmacies offer no-cost or low-priced flu shots throughout Orange County.

Which is not to say you won't get any symptoms after a flu shot. The flu vaccine previous year was estimated to be 30-60 percent effective - and this is a significant public health benefit - nothing to sneeze at!

Vanessa Coleman

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