Body Armor Up: Not too late to get flu shot

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Scott Hensley, an associate professor of microbiology at the University of Pennsylvania who studies flu vaccines, said this year's vaccine is about as effective against H3N2 as last year's was, but it's still valuable to get the shot.

Thomas commented the health department is now out of adult strength flu shots, but flu shots for children aged 6 months to 18 years old can still be given. The area has been plagued by influenza-like symptoms in children and young adults.

And according to Morse, who says he has a flu shot every year, even half the country having the vaccine may be enough, making the shot not only worthwhile but important. "It's better than nothing", she said.

"Washington has seen a lot of the H3N2 strain of flu, which causes more severe illness in young children and those over 65 years old", said Lindquist. And, it offered 33 percent effectiveness for those aged 18 to 49. This year's mix shows better protection against other now circulating strains of influenza, such as H1N1, than it does against H3N2. That ties the highest level seen in the US during swine flu in 2009.

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Influenza, more commonly known as the flu, is caused by viruses infecting the nose, throat and lungs.

Connolly said she ended up administering about 30 doses of flu vaccine, mostly to children from elementary grades to high school age.

And that has many people asking, "Why is it so deadly?"

"If you think you're getting better and then it looks like it's not getting any better than you really do need to seek medical attention because it may now have gone to your lungs and you may now have a pneumonia", said Dr. Lolita McDavid of the Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital. About two in five Americans were vaccinated against this season's flu by early November. Canadian researchers estimated a 17% effectiveness rate. "It'll be a few more weeks or months until flu season recedes for this year".

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"If it is a bad season, and this is a bad season, that's going to prevent thousands of hospitalizations and deaths", he said. Officials say the this bad flu season will likely continue. Last flu season there were two pediatric flu-related deaths in MA.

Recognizing flu warning signs is critical too.

The agency's weekly flu report showed Rhode Island surging ahead of New England and the nation for the percentage of people heading to the doctor's office with flu-like symptoms.

Meanwhile, on February 9, 2018, New York City's Department of Health and Mental Hygiene reported the city's third pediatric flu death this season but did not release any other details about the child.

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This year's flu season has been particularly troubling for Americans, with numbers surging to levels comparable to the swine flu pandemic that ravaged the 2009, according to The Washington Post. "So, while we may be seeing increases in respiratory illnesses in the state, they are not necessarily from influenza".