The Flu Shot Is Not Just About You

You keep hearing it's time to get your flu shot. But new research shows this year's vaccine isn't as effective as last year's

"It's available, it's out there and there's really no reason why anyone doesn't get the flu shot".

"They have a less tropical climate, one that's more like ours", Patel said in a news release. Since we know the flu is a winter disease in temperate countries, we look at countries in the Southern Hemisphere that have already experienced their winters to see or get a little hint of what might be coming our way for winter in the Northern Hemisphere.

This year's flu season is off to a quick start and so far it seems to be dominated by a nasty bug. When more people are infected with the flu, there's more of a chance that these kids will become infected.

Flu viruses are constantly changing, and different viruses can circulate causing illness each season.

A nurse administers a flu vaccine shot. That compared with 157 at the same time past year.

Flu season has arrived earlier than it did past year - just in time for the holidays - and health officials are concerned that this season could bring a severe outbreak. However, only about one-third of those tested to be actual cases of the flu, and almost all of those confirmed flu cases were indeed one of the three strains targeted by the current flu shot serum.

It's recommended for most everyone six months and older.

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"This is more typical of what we see most years", Shahab said. And often, by then, more than one-third of those admissions will test positive for the flu.

Heather Ren, with HSHS St. John's Hospital in Springfield says even in a good year, the flu vaccine is roughly 60% effective. "Whenever we have a season that's predominately H3N2, we tend to have more outbreaks".

While it's too early for disease control experts to evaluate the efficacy of this year's vaccine, health officials say that even in seasons when the flu vaccine is not a flawless match for the most common strain of the virus floating around that year, people who are vaccinated experience less severe symptoms if they do become infected.

Recent reports have questioned the effectiveness of this year's vaccine, with some experts warning it could only be 10% effective.

Right now, in North Idaho, flu cases are on the rise.

There's also the other method of self-defense: Washing hands. Yet, the problem is that the flu virus can mutate from one flu season to another which can render the vaccine ineffective.

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