Flu season could be the worst in almost a decade

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"Even if it's not a flawless match, it's very important, not just for yourself, but also to protect those with whom you may come in contact - including babies too young to get vaccinated and people who have weakened immune systems".

Winter is in the air and so is flu season, especially in the South. We encourage individuals, and especially seniors, to protect themselves this holiday season with an annual flu vaccine so that they can continue doing the things they love with their families.

In 2014, 147 children died of flu - majority from a particular strain, H3N2.

The Wyoming Department of Health is reporting a growing number of flu cases in the state in recent weeks. A typical case can last close to a week; serious complications include dehydration and pneumonia. There are now specially-designed flu vaccines for seniors, meant to protect older people who face an increased risk from influenza.

"We recommend that for everyone 6 months and older, if you haven't received your vaccine yet, now is the time to get it", said Shannon Stokley, an associate director for science in the immunization services division at the CDC.

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Flu shots are available at more than 300 locations around Vermont. "The vaccine doesn't work as well for H3N2 viruses in general".

Last year's vaccine was 42 percent effective, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, but that number has been significantly lower in other years.

Each flu season is unique; the timing of the peak activity and how severe a season will be are hard to predict, making it very important to protect yourself against flu as early as possible. Extremely rare severe allergic reactions can also occur, according to the CDC. The Brownwood/Brown County Health Department would like to take this opportunity to remind all the residents of our city and the surrounding area that it is not too late to get vaccinated against the flu.

Among health care workers who declined the vaccine, the most common reason is fear of experiencing side effects or getting sick from the vaccine. While some people get flu even after receiving a flu shot, the vaccine frequently lessens the severity and duration of illness.

Some people are more vulnerable to serious flu illness, including infants, children, elders and people with certain chronic health issues. "And there are a lot of H1N1 and B viruses out there", Brammer said.

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