Published: Fri, December 08, 2017
Medical | By Jackie Banks

Early flu season could leave more North Dakotans sick

Early flu season could leave more North Dakotans sick

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends a yearly flu vaccination as the first and most important step in protecting against the flu.

In 2014, 147 children died of flu - majority from a particular strain, H3N2.

Michelle Krinsky said she did not feel comfortable getting the vaccine because its ingredients and effectiveness concerned her.

"Getting the flu is an bad experience". It's the single best way to protect yourselves and your loved ones from the flu this holiday season - and throughout the year. Last year, a similar vaccine was 43 percent effective against the H3N2 virus and 48 percent effective overall, according to the CDC.

Other explanations for Penobscot's numbers include the possibility that there are actually more flu cases in the community or that designated health care providers are being especially avid in reporting their cases.

Not everyone agrees that the flu shot is one of the best ways to protect families and prevent serious complications, including Dr. Erika Schwartz, an internist and founder of a medical practice in New York City that focuses on wellness and disease prevention.

"They had quite a substantial epidemic due to H3N2, so there's a lot of speculation that that's foreboding a severe season for us also", she said from Vancouver.

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Doctors typically look south to get an idea of what's coming.

"Because there is a risk, there should be a choice", Smith said.

Children, especially those with underlying health conditions, are at higher risk of severe outcomes from influnza infection.

Flannery explained that the journal article looked at Australia's most recent flu season and highlights the low vaccine effectiveness against one type of influenza: the H3N2 strain predominating in the United States today. Qualifying children and adolescents can receive flu vaccine provided by the Texas Vaccines for Children program.

It is impossible to contract a case of flu from the vaccine.

Most Oklahoma cases involve those age 50 or older or those four and younger.

"The difference is the cold is going to last about two weeks and you may not have the achiness that you have a long with the flu", Hubenka said.

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