Flu viruses are spread mainly by droplets made when people with flu cough, sneeze or talk. This is important for older adults who have weaker immune defenses and have a great risk of developing unsafe flu complications. Each year thousands of people in the USA die from influenza and many more are hospitalized.
With Influenza season just beginning across much of the US, health experts are warning the country may not be prepared for a major outbreak of the virus. The trivalent influenza vaccine for the 2017-2018 flu season includes an A/Michigan/45/2015 (H1N1) pdm09-like virus, an A/Hong Kong/4801/2014 (H3N2)-like virus, and a B/Brisbane/60/2008-like virus (Victoria lineage). "Getting vaccinated today will help protect you and your family now and for the rest of the influenza season".
For those over 65, it turns out you've got some options when it comes to these important vaccinations.
A dose of flu vaccine is recommended every flu season. "You can prevent missing work or school, visits to the doctor or hospitalizations, and protecting others from coming down with the flu". Receiving the flu shot each season is the best way to prevent infection, as the virus changes from year to year; each season the recommended vaccine is created to protect against circulating viruses.
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The warnings come as the CDC began its annual campaign to encourage Americans to get their flu shots before the virus begins spreading during the fall and winter. Health officials say San Diego has already reported 203 laboratory-confirmed flu cases this season, whereas previous year at this time, there were only 60 confirmed flu cases. Some clinics require an appointment, others will give flu shots to walk-ins. The highest rate was among children age 6 months to 2 years old, at 7.3 percent it was the only group that exceeded the national public health goal of 70 percent coverage. Call ahead to know what your clinic's policy is.
The FDA approved vaccines are created to offer extra protection beyond the standard flu shot.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases told CNN that "in general, we get in our season what the Southern Hemisphere got in the season immediately preceding us and an intelligent guess" is that North America will most likely have a bad flu season.