The flu slipped just below epidemic levels over the holidays but spread even farther across the USA and took the lives of six more children. Over twenty children have been killed by the flu this season, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Almost all flu cases this season have been a strain known as Influenza A (H3N2). H3N2 seasons are generally worse than others, and this year’s flu vaccine is not a good match for that particular stretch, so it will provide less protection than in other years. CDC officials still encourage people to get vaccinated due to the other strains that are still circulating.
Young children and elderly are most likely to require hospitalizations and have life-threatening cases of the disease. This is due in part to decreased physical health associated with age and weakened immune systems.
That’s why, although the vaccine generally takes two weeks to take full effect, CDC officials still recommend vaccination. Even when it is not a perfect match for the year’s main strain, the vaccine can reduce the infection’s severity.
Flu vaccine is still available from the Langlade County Health Department or your local provider. For answers to flu related questions and/or to schedule an appointment for a flu shot, contact Langlade County Health at 715-627-6250.