Find a flu shot before the flu finds you, health officials warn


While data fluctuate on how many Americans die annually from the flu, during the 2012 to 2013 flu season an estimated 56,000 people died, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Those in high-risk groups, including older adults, pregnant women and children, should be especially cautious in the midst of Dallas County's deadly outbreak, said Dr. Christopher Perkins, the county's medical director.

The worst flu season in years is only getting worse, with 49 states now seeing widespread misery, US health officials report.

"They have more patients who are admitted to those hospitals than they have beds in those hospitals".

Because the flu is so bad this season, Chen says health professionals are doing things a bit differently this year.

Jernigan characterized the current flu season as "on the severe side", but said it does not appear to be as severe as the 2014/2015 flu season, which was also driven by an H3N2 virus. Although the shot this year is showing relatively low effectiveness because of variations in the predominant H3N2 influenza A virus, it's still far better than no shot.

Wednesday's announcement came after seven people died from the flu Tuesday, according to the county.

They called that number "alarming" because it's so early in the season. "So we saw an nearly doubling in numbers just in the last week". That being said, the CDC still said getting a flu shot is one of the best steps you should take.

Officials said the current flu vaccine has little effect on the H3N2 strain that leads to particularly severe symptoms. We have more than 1,000 people that have tested positive for influenza, and we also have fifteen deaths so far in CT.

It is still too soon to say just how bad this flu season will be, but the CDC believes it could reach near epidemic levels.

The advice from Werker, Shahab and others is to stay home when you're sick, cough into your sleeve and always wash your hands.

"Cold weather further promotes that because it drives people indoors where they are huddled together", Folk said.

Experts urge everyone 6 months of age and older get the flu shot, as it helps reduce the chance of illness from the flu and can also lessen the severity of the symptoms if you do get sick.