Flu season deaths top 80,000 past year, CDC says

Health officials working to make flu shot more effective

Health officials working to make flu shot more effective

'The aim is to get people vaccinated ahead of the winter flu season, ' Dr Diggle added.

Prevention. The most important thing is to get the influenza vaccine which is easily and conveniently provided at all of our Northwestern Medicine Immediate Care Centers in Lakeview, River North, Streeterville and now the West Loop.

This year, clinics are providing new vaccines made up of four strains and higher antigen doses.

CDC officials don't have an exact measure of the amount of flu-related deaths per year. "Flu vaccination can help keep you from getting sick, missing work or school, and prevent flu-related hospitalization and death", said Sietske de Fijter, State Epidemiologist and Chief, Bureau of Infectious Diseases. In the USA, peak flu season months are typically November through March.

Autumn has just begun and federal health officials are already urging people to start preparing for another potentially nasty flu season.

Some studies have shown that the protective antibodies produced in response to the vaccine can decrease over time. But they said it is not expected to go down.

The overall effectiveness of last season's vaccine was estimated at 40 percent, according to the CDC.

"Most people with the flu have mild illness and don't need medical care or antiviral drugs", the CDC stated in a recent bulletin.

The vaccine performed better against some strains than others.

"That waning of immunity has not been substantial enough to recommend a delay in the kickoff for getting vaccines", he said. It was driven by a kind of flu that tends to put more people in the hospital and cause more deaths, particularly among young children and the elderly.

The CDC recommends at least one annual flu shot for every adult and child over the age of six months to be administered by the end of October, with different flu shot schedules available to different populations based on age.

Even if a vaccine isn't a flawless match for the year's strains, she said, it's still a good idea to get the shot because the antibodies people produce as a result will protect against the circulating strains and similar ones.

Islanders who fall in "at risk" groups such as pregnant women and those aged between 16 and 64 with long-term illnesses - for example, heart disease - will be eligible for a "gold standard" vaccination which offers protection against four strains of flu.

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