Flu season soars in the United States, especially in the South

Flu season soars in the United States, especially in the South

The shots are affordable and available widely, including at large pharmacies, walk-in clinics, and doctors' offices.

Kathryn Pool shares why every senior should get an annual flu vaccination.

"Our vaccine is the same as the one used in Australia", said Lynnette Brammer, an epidemiologist in the influenza division of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

And Brammer added that other types of flu are circulating, including influenza A H1N1 and a couple of influenza B viruses.

In addition to DHEC clinics, many local providers - including doctors' offices, clinics, pharmacies, college health centers, schools and workplaces - now offer flu vaccines.

The CDC recommends the vaccination for everyone six months old and older because there are thousands of flu-related deaths each year.

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However, as Dr. Tanya Altmann, a pediatrician and spokeswoman for the American Academy of Pediatrics, pointed out, the flu has potentially serious complications such as pneumonia, bronchitis and sinus and ear infections. The Brownwood/Brown County Health Department would like to take this opportunity to remind all the residents of our city and the surrounding area that it is not too late to get vaccinated against the flu.

The best protection against the flu is the flu vaccine.

Still, "I believe it's worth getting the vaccine", Siegel said. As part of the series, Joan Mann also discusses how her adult daughter, Kendra, sadly succumbed to the flu at age 35. Other groups who are at high risk include children 5 and younger, pregnant women and those with chronic medical conditions, such as asthma, diabetes or heart disease.

Health officials say is important for those experiencing flu-like symptoms to consult with a health care provider as soon as possible.

Flu shots help protect us from the highly contagious, debilitating illness that can have severe complications in some portions of the population. Last year, a similar vaccine was 43 percent effective against the H3N2 virus and 48 percent effective overall, according to the CDC. The article's authors also noted that "the vaccine prevented about a third of all illness by all of the types of flu", Flannery said.

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