What To Know About The Flu Virus As Season Ramps Up

Laverne Higgins
January 12, 2018

- A spike in flu cases in NY and across the country has health officials urging people to get influenza vaccine if they haven't done so already. "Nurses from the five Scott County school districts call in weekly to report". Travis County health officials confirm there have been 11 influenza deaths, all of whom were over the age of 50, this season as of January 11. The review included people over the age of 65, McDowell said.

"The health department does track school absenteeism due to flu-like symptoms", Ms. Hall said.

Dr. Michael Chen, a physician at The Portland Clinic in Tigard, tells FOX 12 more people are sick and have gotten the virus earlier than in years past.

The Scott County Health Department does not give flu shots to the general public.

In December, the state announced its first child death from flu for the 2017-18 flu season. It's able to prompt your immune system to make antibodies against the flu, so it's ready in case you encounter the real the thing.

Though Chen says this year's flu shot is weaker than in years past, but says that shouldn't mean a person doesn't get it.

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So far this flu season, at least 3,927 people have been sent to the hospital with laboratory-confirmed cases of influenza.

"We're definitely seeing a lot more cases of flu and definitely more than previous year", said Lyndy Stone, marketing director for Shannon Medical Center. "It is too early for us to know what the flu vaccine effectiveness is for the USA, and we can't make predictions based on what happened in other countries like Australia because it's not an equal comparison".

Mr. Gastafson said while the flu shot is only about 10 to 15 percent effective, he also recommends getting it.

- This flu season is off to an intense start. Vaccinating students against the flu is one way to keep them healthy and focused on their academic success. "If you haven't been immunized, there's still a vaccine available, and go ahead and get immunized".

Flu vaccines are covered by most insurance plans. Babies, the elderly, pregnant women and those with chronic diseases should take special approaches to avoiding and dealing with the flu and should see their primary care provider for antiviral medication if they are ill, he said.

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