Flu shot predicted to be less effective this year

National Foundation for Infectious Diseases

Since it takes about two weeks to become fully effective, a flu shot now will confer protection against illness for the holidays and through the rest of the season, which typically winds down by March or April.

Reports from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention show late November influenza activity has increased with Type A the leading strain.

"It is very easy to catch any sort of illness this time of year with all the hugs, handshakes and shared surfaces at parties or shopping malls", said OMRF immunologist Eliza Chakravarty, M.D. "Getting an annual flu vaccination protects seniors, and everyone around them, too, including their grandchildren".

"The influenza vaccine still provides some level of protection".

Winter is in the air and so is flu season, especially in the South.

According to the department's reports, it was child who did not get their flu shot this year.

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The CDC recommends everyone six months and older get a flu shot each season.

Usually, a H3N2 portends a severe flu year, but mild H3N2 years have also occurred, she said.

Among health care workers who declined the vaccine, the most common reason is fear of experiencing side effects or getting sick from the vaccine. Children, pregnant women, and those 65 and older are at particular risk, as are those with chronic lung conditions.

About Families Fighting Flu Families Fighting Flu is a national, nonprofit, 501 (c)(3) volunteer-based advocacy organization dedicated to protecting children and their families against influenza. And in Australia, which used the identical vaccine as Canada's this past season, its effectiveness against H3N2 infection was far less - only about 10 per cent.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say you should be vigilant with washing your hands, avoid touching your eyes and mouth, get plenty of sleep and eat healthy to help give your immune system a boost.

"What's not measured is that, even if you get the flu in spite of the vaccine, your flu case is likely to be milder; you're less likely to have the complications of pneumonia, having to be hospitalized and dying", he said.

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