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Flu Season: Conflicting Reports on Severity of Virus, CDC Urges People to Get Vaccinated

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Flu Season: Conflicting Reports on Severity of Virus, CDC Urges People to Get Vaccinated

2019-11-14 09:18:481 Oct 2018 01:53 AM EST

By Chanel Adams,  Image: Wikimedia Commons

Flu season is just started to ramp up and there appears to be conflicting reports about it. Some experts claim that the early part of flu season is “not as scary;” however, the CDC still urges people to get vaccinated. Meanwhile, local experts claim that the flu season could be “more severe than normal.” The influenza virus is nothing to sneeze at and people should get vaccinated as soon as possible.

The flu season has already begun in most parts of the world. There has been a widespread outbreak in Australia – similar to the H3N2 strain in U.S. which killed thousands of people. Two years ago, 79,000 Americans died from complications of the flu which could mean it is headed for the worse this season. On Friday Nov. 8, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported two flu-related deaths this season even though the influenza virus is still low. However, it has increased as of lately.

There has also been an increase in medical visits due to the influenza virus. But it’s still below the national average of 2.4%. Louisiana and Maryland are the only states so far that have reported cases of the virus. But Ogbonnaya Omenka warns that flu season is “still early” and only time will tell if reported cases will start to climb. According to Omenka, health departments have already been looking into ways to prevent the widespread outbreak of the flu virus. They have been able to contain it in a way that won’t cause a “significant outbreak or problem” this time around.

That’s due in part into the World Health Organization’s decision to include the H3N2 strain in its vaccine which protects against four different viruses. As the Artic blast continues to grip most of the nation, more people are forced indoors, causing them to infect others with the influenza virus. Since winter is already starting early in some states, the flu season could as well. This also explains why the months between December and February are the most dangerous for the flu season.    

Flu season has already started in Las Vegas, according to 3 News Las Vegas. There already has been one reported death in the area. According to the Southern Nevada Health District (SNHD), a senior Clark County resident has passed away from flu-like symptoms between Oct. 27 and Nov. 2. The SNHD has also reported that there have been 64 confirmed cases of the illness during its first five weeks of the season. Officials fear that the flu season is going to continue to get worse as winter goes on.

“It’s going to happen again. Unfortunately, with deaths from the flu, it always does,” says Dan Heller. “It’s usually not the flu that causes death, it’s flu leading to pneumonia or other significant illnesses that hospitalize someone and they just can’t fight through it.”

Even physician Dr. Daliah Wachs predicts that this year is going to be an active flu season. The H3N2 stain could play a role in the efficiency of the shot. Since it’s the most predominant strain, only time will tell if it will evolve.

Of course, the best source of protection against the virus is the flu shot, according to CDC spokesperson Kristen Nordlund. According to the CDC, everyone older than six months should get vaccinated. The flu shot is made from inactivated flu viruses or a single gene that’s generated from that virus. Contrary to popular belief, the shot cannot cause infection.

Even Dr. Wachs advises everyone to get the flu shot.

“Let’s say the flu shot, on a good year, is 60% effective, and this year maybe it’ll be 40%, who knows, or 50%. It still protects 40% of the people who take,” she said. “You don’t know if it’s going to work for you or not, and so, getting the flu shot offers protection. There are so many benefits than risks.”

Dr. Wachs also advises people to get the Pneumonia vacation, which can provide additional protection from complications that occur during the flu. People should not underestimate the severity of the flu since it can kill you. The CDC reports that there are between 12,000 and 56,000 flu-related deaths every year. The flu is even more dangerous for adults over the age of 65 and children under the age of 5. But it can be a deadly virus for anyone who’s infected by it.

Some people may get a second infection from the flu, such as sepsis, which can lead to death. Sepsis occurs when the body overreacts from the infection. Others die from the flu because their immune system is already suffering from asthma, chronic lung disease, or diabetes. Some may even have underlying conditions that could cause them to die from the flu. There are several reasons as to why people die from the flu each year.

In addition, Public Health and Wellness urge people to get the flu shot. It takes about 10 days to for the vaccination to kick in. This simple little shot can provide even more protection for people age 65 and older.

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