Horsham doctor urges 'at risk' groups to get flu vaccine quick

What are flu symptoms and the different types, and how can I avoid it?

Between Dec., 31 and January, 6 Manitoba Health reports 17 deaths associated with the flu since September, 1, 2017. I just want to make a quick point about vaccine effectiveness this season. Thousands of additional cases are expected in the coming weeks, experts are predicting.

How can I tell if it's flu or a cold?

In a normal year, about 2-6% of people who get the flu are sick enough to see a doctor - but this year, the percentage has already risen above 13%, meaning that people are feeling very ill.

"Mississippi hospitals, like those across the country, are experiencing a huge influx of patients due to the flu and are taking necessary steps to ensure patients receive appropriate care in the appropriate setting", said Timothy H. Moore, President/CEO of Mississippi Hospital Association.

Doctors said the issue with this year's flu is that the flu shot is only about 10 percent effective. The Centers for Disease Control, or CDC, reports widespread outbreaks of the flu. Health officials urge people in high-risk groups-babies, seniors, and those with compromised immune systems-to get vaccinated against the flu.

The report out Friday shows flu and pneumonia deaths crept up last week to push flu to an epidemic level.

According to the Health Department, the majority of flu-related deaths involve people with diabetes, heart or lung disease, people over the age of 65, and children under the age of 5. But Dr. Trini Matthew, who is the medical director of Beaumont's Epidemiology Department, says it's still your best weapon in fighting the flu.

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Columbia County saw a 9.5 percent increase in residents getting flu vaccinations in 2017, according to data from the Oregon Health Authority.

The trivalent and quadrivalent flu jabs could protect against the specific Aussie flu virus - a mutated H3N2 influenza A virus. However, about 40 percent of the cases were for influenza B, a less virulent strain.

Flu vaccines are developed well in advance of the flu season, based on viruses that had recently been circulating at that time. N allows the pathogens to break free from infected cells and move into unaffected cells during the infection cycle.

Shareeka Smith's 8-month-old son, Kingston, is a patient at Texans Children's Hospital, fighting the flu.

"Flu activity has definitely increased", Armellino said. "We apologize for the inconvenience to family members and friends, but this measure is a necessary precaution to protect our patients and to help prevent the spread of the flu".

The vaccine is not ideal, but it does reduce the risk of getting influenza by 50 percent to 60 percent, the CDC says. She also is recommending hand-washing and spatial distancing as methods to prevent the flu's spread. The majority of the cases (136) involved people aged 65 and over.

Penobscot County has seen 173 confirmed cases, the most in the state, while York County has 142 and Cumberland County 105.

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