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John Lindsey: Why is winter the season of the flu?

31 January 2018

Flu deaths of people age 65 and older are not reported.

Doctors are urging people to get the flu vaccine, saying its still the best defense against catching the virus, even this late in flu season.

A runny nose, cough, sore throat, breathing problems, fever, headache, diarrhea: If you came down with these symptoms in the middle of winter, you'd probably assume it's the flu and take to your bed immediately.

This year is shaping up to be the worst flu season since the Swine Flu outbreak in 2009. If the flu is severe enough, a visit to the doctor's office for a prescription of antivirals, such as Tamiflu, will help cut down the duration of the sickness. "Studies have shown that of the children who died from the flu in the USA last year, 85 percent were not immunized".

And adenoviruses are still hard to diagnose since they're not included in a panel of tests used to identify specific viruses, according to Schaffner.

The H3N2 flu (sometimes referred to as "Aussie flu") first showed up globally during the disastrous 1968 flu pandemic, which killed more than a million people around the world. He said he wanted them to counsel residents directly.

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CDC physician Lin Yung-ching (林詠青) cited the case of a six-month-old boy who was confirmed to have serious flu-related complications last week, the youngest case this season.

The flu vaccine covers influenza strains that are predicted to circulate in the community for a given year.

Last year's vaccine is said to have had about 30 percent effectiveness against H3N2, compared to an overall one of around 40 percent for all the circulating viruses. In addition, New York City, Puerto Rico, and 39 states reported high activity levels of influenza-like illness during week 3, an increase of 7 states from the total reported in the previous week's FluView report.

Dr. Dirk Haselow, the state epidemiologist, said that of the state's 94 flu victims, about one-third had received a flu shot. This is the difference between the number of new such cases for all regions in the January 26 report - 1,170 - and that number - 994 - in the January 19 report.

Since Oct. 1, almost 9,000 flu-related hospitalizations were reported nationwide and widespread flu activity is being experienced in 49 states, with high activity noted in 32, including Virginia.

The CDC says the flu vaccine is safe for pregnant women and can also protect infants from the virus for several months after they're born. It's certainly something our bodies, which would have no imprint for the foreign strain, wouldn't be prepared to fight.

John Lindsey: Why is winter the season of the flu?