Flu Cases Increase Across MO This Season

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According to the Dept. of Public Health, there have been no flu-related deaths this season in Georgia, but there have been 32 hospitalizations and flu activity is only increasing.

And because most people who show flu symptoms don't go to the doctor and get tested, state epidemiologist Alfred DeMaria cautioned those numbers represent only a small portion of actual cases.

This year's trivalent flu vaccine mixture was aimed at covering the H3N2 strain, which was first isolated and identified in the 1968 Hong Kong flu pandemic, resulting in 1 million deaths.

Flu vaccines are, on average, about 42 percent effective.

Gum says that even if the vaccine is five percent effective, people should still get it because that's a five percent chance out of 100 that you will be healthy.

"We try to keep our finger on the pulse the best we can", said Zack Raney who is an epidemiologist with the Northern Kentucky Health Department.

It's why he and others advise to not dismiss the flu shot.

Heather Chamberlin got the flu vaccine during October just like she does every year. One of the types they chose past year became the most widely circulated, but the vaccine's success was still muted.

That is because the vaccine is not as effective in preventing H3N2, which is expected to be the dominate strain. December and February are commonly the flu season peaks in the U.S. This is especially important as we're entering the holiday season and people are more likely to be spending time with those most vulnerable to complications from flu, such as infants and the elderly. He said this year's vaccine should work.

Of course, they also recommend common health practices like always washing your hands, and sneezing into a tissue or your elbow. Influenza is a highly contagious viral infection passed by coughs and sneezes, saliva and skin-to-skin contact or contact with a contaminated surface. As it can take weeks for the flu shot to kick in, this all underscores the importance of people getting their shots ASAP, experts say.

Health officials are warning that the flu season could be bad and that it's coming early.

Get the flu vaccine as soon as possible.

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