More Oklahomans Hospitalized with Flu. Australian Strain Not a Problem Here, Yet

Expect a Bad Flu Season

National Influenza Week stresses importance of vaccinations

If you get sick, look out for severe aches and pains in your muscles and joints, notable fatigue and weakness, headaches and a high fever.

There are now specially-designed flu vaccines for seniors, meant to protect older people who face an increased risk from influenza. The Protecting Grandparents from the Flu series features the Miller family and their battle with influenza when daughter, Caroline, almost died from flu complications at the age of five.

"Anything that you can do to help prevent your family from getting the flu is very beneficial", said Altmann, who was not involved in the CDC research.

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. By the end of the year, the CDC declared an epidemic, with more than 20 deaths in just a few weeks before Christmas that year. He says the best way to avoid the flu is to get immunized with a flu shot.

More than a quarter of pregnant women reported that medical staff did not recommend or offer a flu shot.

Still, "I believe it's worth getting the vaccine", Siegel said.

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Other explanations for Penobscot's numbers include the possibility that there are actually more flu cases in the community or that designated health care providers are being especially avid in reporting their cases.

Families Fighting Flu announces the availability of a new video series on the importance of annual flu vaccination for seniors. Some patients believe they can protect themselves by boosting their immune systems, eating well and making sure they sleep better, she said.

Data from the CDC's interactive flu-tracking site show cases of people falling ill with "influenza-like illnesses" (ILI) are more widespread than in previous years. "Many are hospitalized and some die".

After receiving vaccine donations from civic organizations, the CDC on Friday last week announced the plan to administer government-funded vaccines to infants born after January 1 who are older than 12 months after January 1 next year.

It's too early to tell if H3N2 will continue to be the predominant strain or whether H1N1 will surpass it, Brammer said.

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