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The Centers for Disease Control says this flu season isn't as bad as some we've seen recently.but it doesn't mean we're in the clear.

As of January 13 of the 2017-18 season, flu attributed to 3.23 percent of all outpatient visits in Iowa. This, as well as the pneumonia vaccine, is especially important in children below 2 years old and adults over 65 years old. Vermont and New Hampshire are not seeing that many cases but the numbers are growing. "This year, we're not seeing quite the severity or quite the volume of people effected".

Skowronski says last season's flu shot was less than 20 per cent effective in preventing Canadians from getting sick during what turned out to be an H3N2-dominant epidemic.

Also, according to Richard K. Zimmerman, MD, MPH, professor of family medicine, and associate professor of behavioral and community health sciences, University of Pittsburgh, flu vaccine rates dropped 40 percent past year, and 79,000 people in the United States died from the flu (the typical number is 23,000).

So far, across the state, there have been nine flu-related deaths during the current flu season. It is now at "widespread", as flu activity remains elevated after rapidly increasing last month.

Influenza has an abrupt onset, typically with a fever or chills, muscle or body aches including a headache and fatigue. Bates says as long as influenza viruses are spreading, "vaccination should continue throughout the season".

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He says it is still worthwhile to get a flu shot.

GP consultations with flu-like illness and intensive care admission rates remain at similar levels to last week (19.6 from 19.2 per 100,000 in England and 0.54 from 0.55 per 100,000 respectively), while there has been a slight increase in hospital admissions rates from 4.8 to 5.04 per 100,000.

This year's flu shot has been 72 per cent effective at preventing infections in Canada, according to a scientific study.

It's unusual to hear of healthy, young people dying from the flu but it happens.

In recent years, one of the biggest myths about childhood vaccines was that they can cause autism in children. They say it could protect you and others.

The BCCDC reminds people that general hygiene practices such as washing your hands, coughing and sneezing into your elbow, and refraining from touching your face, are also steps that can minimize sickness.


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