Get a flu shot now to protect against winter infection

Henrietta Brewer
October 28, 2019

Flu activity peaks between December and February, but activity can last as late as May.

The previous year, there were 46 deaths, 35 ICU admissions and 505 hospitalizations.

H3N2 was the predominant strain in most regions during the off season, the CDC said. The flu vaccine will not give patients influenza, but they can still catch a nonflu virus or even the flu since it takes two weeks for the protective effects of the vaccination to kick in.

"They had a very bad season", said Dr. Sharon Welbel, director of infectious disease at Cook County Health, noting that Australia had four times as many cases as the previous five years' average and twice as many deaths.

"The flu vaccine protects you and helps to protect those around you including infants, people with chronic illnesses such as diabetes or asthma, and those seeking treatment for cancer".

The province is urging Manitobans to get the flu shot this fall.

Tom Lambert, a public health nurse with CCHD, explained, "The flu shot has been a proven way to protect the individual from becoming ill, but also and equally important, it will prevent that person from being contagious to the community around them". Given the six-month time lag, it's all but impossible to swiftly order up vast new batches of vaccine in case an unexpected strain emerges, which is what happened in the 2009-10 flu season with the H1N1 virus, better known as swine flu.

"Getting yourself and your child vaccinated as early as possible can help protect both of you from flu-related illnesses, reduce school absences for your child, and prevent the virus from infecting other children and family members", said Administration for Children's Services Commissioner David Hansell. However, the flu vaccine this year will not be available in nasal spray form anywhere in the country, which means children will have to get a shot.

The flu season has begun in India, with doctors reporting a steady increase in the number of people with symptoms of fever, headache, runny nose, cough and muscle pain over the last week.

FluMist Quadrivalent is a flu vaccine that is only weakened (attenuated), rather than inactivated. Some people are at greater risk of serious complications from the flu.

A special high-dose seasonal flu vaccine is once again available for senior residents of long-term care facilities.

"Seniors need to get this, there's just no question", said Tom Farrell, the president of the Manitoba Association of Senior Centres. "Common side effects from flu shots are muscle soreness at the injection site".

Other reports by iNewsToday