No increased flu shot demand, despite influenza-related deaths

Ebony Scott
February 15, 2018

A lot of them had underlying conditions such as heart, lung or immune system problems.

To look more closely at the latest fatality patterns, the team examined lab-confirmed pediatric flu deaths for six flu seasons between 2010-2011 to 2015-2016.

Hospital emergency rooms are being inundated during this flu season and are having to add extra staff and resources to handle the cases.

"There was kind of a miss with this year's vaccine", Christmann said. "I don't discourage adults from coming in when they think have the flu".

Patsy Malas, Campus Nurse, says the most important thing to know is that the flu is most contagious during the 24 hours after all symptoms have cleared. After that, the anti-viral medication Tamiflu doesn't work.

The government report shows 1 of every 13 visits to the doctor last week was for fever, cough and other symptoms of the flu.

"It's still going on", she said. Hospitalization rates are already approaching total numbers seen at the end of the flu season, which may not be for months.

During that time, 675 deaths were reported in children younger than 18, with an average of 113 deaths per year.

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"This is a severe flu season, and unfortunately there are no signs that it has peaked yet", said State Health Commissioner Kris Box, MD, FACOG.

Free or low-priced flu shots were made available at a dozen locations on Saturday, and health officials say there will be another round of free clinics next weekend.

"This is a hard season and we can't predict how much longer the intense flu activity will last", CDC acting director Dr. Anne Schuchat told NBC News.

That's because the dominant strain is Influenza A H3N2.

"Influenza is an extremely serious, and sometimes deadly, disease, and this flu season has been proven to be particularly severe", said Dr. Howard Haft, deputy secretary for Public Health Services. Pediatricians say they're inundated with panicked moms and dads concerned their sick child might have the flu. Schuyler County Public Health actively monitors the flu and flu-like illness in the county each year.

Influenza is a viral infection of the respiratory tract and is spread by droplets released when infected people cough or sneeze nearby or when people touch surfaces or objects contaminated with those infectious respiratory droplets.

Schuchat said hospitalizations in the 55-to-64 age group and higher levels of influenza-like illness are where the records will come.

"With this year's circulating influenza viruses, people are still able to get partial protection through the vaccine, and some protection is definitely better than none".

Other reports by GizPress

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