CDC Issues Guidance to Travelers as Influenza Season Nears

The National Advisory Committee on Immunizations recommends people six months of age and older get vaccinated against the flu every year

Almost 80 percent of the children who died of flu past year for example, were not vaccinated against flu.

While it's true for some people, the flu can just feel like a bad cold, for others it can be more serious. CDC recommends that people get a flu vaccine by the end of October.

So, the best time to get a flu shot is as soon as possible - and you might even be able to get it for free through your insurance.

The flu shot is made to protect against strains that experts believe will circulate during the season.

"The decision to have your child vaccinated against flu is yours of course, but we would like you to be fully informed of the advantages and disadvantages before making your decision once again this year". Some years the vaccines effectiveness has been as low as 10 per cent.

It has always been known that gender can correlate with health with influenza. For example, women have increased exposure to influenza due to historical gender norms under which more women serve as primary caregivers than men. Nevertheless, men, although exposed less to the flu, tend to have higher rates of mortality and morbidity from the flu. "It is also critical for health care workers and people taking care of high-risk persons to be immunized".

This new flu shot targets flu strains of the influenza virus. Surface proteins on the virus particles are shown in black.

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The flu vaccine typically becomes available in early October. Men are more likely than women to say they're planning on getting the shot (49% vs 44%) or have already gotten the shot (6% vs 4%). The difference in effectiveness varied by strain with the greatest dissimilarity in the A (H3N2) and B (Victoria) strains. "But the bottom line is, certainly getting vaccinated gives you more protection than none at all".

"The authors wrote that "...these findings suggest that biological gender differences in response to the vaccine, rather than gender differences in health care seeking or vaccination status reporting, likely explains the observed differences in influenza VE between males and females".

Credit: Air Force District of Washington.

"It's key that everyone understands our best protection is a seasonal flu vaccine, which are now available and can help mitigate the severity of this season", said Dr. Andi Shane, medical director of hospital epidemiology at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta.

The campaign will be one of the first to roll out under the newly launched "Help Us Help You" brand. This comes from recommendations from the World Health Organization.

Dr. Katherine O'Brien, who was awarded the Canada 150 Research Chair in Vaccinology and Global Health at Dalhousie University and is to begin work at the university on December 1, said the complexity of influenza strains makes matching vaccinations hard.

Flu is a viral infection that is spread through coughs and sneezes.

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