Local counties see 'dramatic rise' in flu hospitalizations

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Health care providers reported 295 cases of influenza-like illnesses to the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Health Department through December 23, which is more than seven times higher than the 41 cases reported at this time a year ago, according to health department data. This season's flu vaccine includes the same H3N2 vaccine component as last season, and most circulating H3N2 viruses that have been tested in the US this season are still similar to the H3N2 vaccine virus, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

The flu shot has been plagued by stories of its ineffectiveness.

Symptoms include fever, headache, fatigue and sometimes a cough and sore throat.

The annual flu vaccination program began on October 1 a year ago, offering free flu shots to high-risk groups, including toddlers, students under the age of 18 and patients suffering from chronic diseases.

That's because this year's vaccine may not effectively protect against two strains of flu, called H3N2 and the Influenza B virus. "It will keep them away from the emergency department".

Stay home and avoid contact with people for at least 24 hours after your fever subsides without the use of fever-reducing medicine.

In the U.S last season, overall vaccine effectiveness against all circulating flu viruses was 39 percent, and effectiveness was only a bit lower - 32 percent - against H3N2 viruses.

There have been 1,182 influenza-associated hospitalizations in OH, compared to 214 cases at the same time in 2016.

Michael Mendoza says there have already been 365 lab-confirmed cases of the flu in the county alone.

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However, such prediction can be wrong, leading to vaccines containing different viruses from those making people sick during flu season, the CDC said.

"Every year, area health experts provide the same tips to help avoid the flu".

There were 22 new cases of patients diagnosed with severe flu complications last week, including 18 who had not been vaccinated, CDC physician Wu Pei-huan (吳佩圜) said at a weekly briefing on the flu situation in Taiwan. Influenza A is the most common subtype in the region this season.

Flu can have very serious associated complications. "Additionally, getting the vaccine is helpful, because it may reduce the severity or duration of flu symptoms".

Children younger than 6 months are too young to get a flu shot.

"Those of us that got the vaccine last year - last year's vaccine may have been more effective against H3N2. they still have some immunity to it possibly". This might include gelatin, antibiotics, or other ingredients.

"Stay home if you're sick", Berger warned.

"We want to do everything we can to prevent the transmission of flu and so when I talk to my patients about getting the flu shot, I say, it's the most you can do, so you might as well take advantage of what you can do", he said.

Mohammad says Ontario is on "pins and needles" waiting for the worst to come because of a "record-breaking surge" that hit Australia during its recent flu season due to the same strains.

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