Flu Deaths Continue to Rise in AR

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Wheeling-Ohio County Health Department Administrator Howard Gamble says the flu shot is not unsafe, and that this article most likely is twisting factual information to match a certain narrative. Earlier this year, Queensway Carleton Hospital cancelled elective surgeries for two days when it became overwhelmed with flu and other cases.

There are currently 17 patients admitted with influenza right now. Across the country the tested samples received by the labs "Flu-A" is the predominant subtype detected. But the epidemic is accelerating.

Emergency rooms around the US are crowded with flu patients as the country experiences one of the most intense flu seasons in years, according to news reports. That means the number of weekly cases could triple, and the peak number of deaths could be substantially higher. An express flu clinic is also available by appointment and is held on Friday afternoons from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m.

"All of the different types of influenza are causing these deaths", said Dan Jernigan, director of the influenza division at the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases.

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According to the CDC, for the week ending January 27, the proportion of people seeing their health care provider for influenza-like illness was 7.1 percent, which is above the national baseline of 2.2 percent and is the highest ILI percentage recorded since the 2009 pandemic. (For a full list of people at high risk of flu-related complications, see People at High Risk of Developing Flu-Related Complications). It hasn't shown any signs of slowing down and more people are expected to be in the hospital.

The majority of cases have involved the H3N2 strain, which is more resistant to the flu vaccine and tends to lead to more hospitalizations and deaths.

Unfortunately, no. Experts say it is possible to catch the flu twice in one season.

More sick children were also recorded at other hospitals, with many diagnosed with the influenza A and B viruses, which can be fatal.

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The U.S. flu vaccines are reviewed annually and updated to match the circulating flu viruses.

In the USA, annual flu shots are recommended for everyone age 6 months or older.

Get the FLU SHOT!

CDC officials also said to make sure people wash their hands, stay home if they're sick and to cover their mouths when they cough or sneeze. Although this season's vaccine appears to be less effective than in previous flu seasons, it remains the best way to protect against the illness as well as to mitigate its symptoms. In fact, this year's predominant flu strain, H3N2, is one of the most severe strains of the flu virus.

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11Alive asked our medical correspondent Dr. Sujatha Reddy, with Premier Care For Women.