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Is flu shot only 10 percent effective?
14 December 2017, 10:20 | Franklin Nunez
Is flu shot only 10 percent effective?
That number may represent the tip of the iceberg because most people with the flu don't go to a doctor or hospital to get tested. At this same time previous year, there were not any.
Abilene pharmacist James McCoy said he hasn't seen a large number of people coming in with flu so far, but he similarly advocated shots for those who haven't had them.
So his teeth were set on edge by a recent study showing the effectiveness of this year's flu shot could be as low as 10 percent.
Based on these new estimates, adults over age 75 and people living in parts of sub-Saharan Africa are most at-risk of dying from the flu, the study said, and people living in the Eastern Mediterranean and Southeast Asia also face a high risk. High flu activity has continued in 3 states - Louisiana, Mississippi, and SC - and laboratory testing of respiratory specimens shows that influenza A (H3N2) has continued to be predominant this flu season.
A 2014 study showed that flu vaccine reduced children's risk of flu-related pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) admission by 74 percent during flu seasons from 2010-2012. "Most insurances are paying for flu shots, so it's really not a cost to you". The article cites reports from Australia, where there have been record-high numbers of laboratory-confirmed influenza notifications and outbreaks and higher than average numbers of hospitalizations and deaths. "Viruses mutate, we could see different strains here than they saw during their season".
"Getting your annual flu vaccine is still your first and best line of defense against the influenza virus", said Dr. Rattay.
This year, the ever-changing H3N2 virus may have become adapted to this year's vaccine.
"Even in seasons when the vaccine is not a great match to the circulating flu strains, a flu shot is still the best protection an individual can get to protect not only against influenza disease but also from severe illness, hospitalization and death from flu-related complications".
Stay home if you are sick until you are fever free for 24 hours - with a temperature of less than 100◦ F (37.8◦ C), without the use of fever-reducing medications for at least 24 hours.
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