Now is the time to get vaccinated against the flu

Yolanda Curtis
December 3, 2019

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's weekly FluView report, released Monday, 2.9 percent of all visits to healthcare providers across the country for the week ending November 23 were related to influenza, up from 2.5 percent the previous week.

Further, the peak flu season in the USA is December through February.

"A good portion of the state is seeing flu, particularly in the northwest corner and east in Cass County", said Levi Schlosser, epidemiologist and influenza surveillance coordinator with the NDDoH in Bismarck. Already 4 flu-associated deaths among children have been reported.

Parents are being urged not to delay in getting the flu vaccine for their toddlers and children with the take-up rate worryingly lower than a year ago. Those same regions had reported high activity during the prior week. Some people, especially young children and people with weakened immune symptoms, might be able to infect others for an even longer time.

Another reason to get vaccinated is to protect others who may be medically unable to become vaccinated, Schlosser said.

The ministry also reiterated that the influenza virus is serious and is generally more severe than the common cold and that the flu vaccine is available, at no cost, at all health centres. It is also important for those who spend time around anyone who is high risk for flu complications. Dr. Alex Roby at Red River ER in Sherman said flu activity in North Texas has increased heavily in the last two weeks, and it looks as if the season is going to be prolonged. Flu vaccine is available at many locations.

"The vast majority of the flu strains that are characterized so far are the same strains that are contained in the vaccine". The vaccines contain three or four components to protect against multiple strains of the virus.

Even with this research from previous years, there are still many people that believe that receiving the flu vaccine will lead to contracting the flu.

Flu season usually lasts until February, so there is plenty of time to get that flu shot.

To reduce your chances at getting the flu, the CDC recommends getting vaccinated, washing your hands, avoiding close contact with sick people, and avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth.

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