Amid flu surge, IN residents urged to get flu shots

Flu outbreak brings overcrowded hospitals and medicine shortages as death toll in California rises to 27

For example, the CDC reports that 46 states had widespread flu activity the last week of December.

Flu season officially begins in October but this year's particularly unsafe strain, H3N2, has come relatively early and the season has not reached its peak yet. Researchers are saying it compares to the flu level of 2015-2016, the most active flu year since 2009, when a flu that had not been seen before caused a pandemic that killed 284,000 worldwide. The 4,500 cases represent lab-confirmed cases collected through a state monitoring effort that's meant to be a barometer of flu severity, but not a measure of total cases.

What is making some medical professionals nervous is that the flu vaccine may not be as effective as hoped. Other parts of the world may be as low as 10 percent, such as in Australia. The New York Times quoted a government official as saying it's now considered to be a "moderately severe" flu season, comparable to the flu season of 2014-15.

They are urging the public to only go to King George and Queen's hospitals if absolutely necessary to ensure that the most unwell patients receive the treatment they need.

How effective is the flu vaccine?

Although flu season can start as early as October, this year, as usual, it's shifted into high gear in late December and January. Last year's effectiveness for the H3N2 virus was around 43 percent.

Experts explain that this is because this year's flu virus is one of the nastiest the Golden State has seen in years.

What are the symptoms of the flu? "Less often, a person might also get flu by touching a surface or object that has flu virus on it and then touching their own mouth or nose".

What can you do to try to prevent it? Usually, flu shots for the USA market are manufactured based on the flu strain recorded for the Australian flu season which overlaps with the US summer.

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Already got your flu shot? So do masks protect you from the flu?

And how the vaccine is made is to blame.

Patients whose symptoms began within 48 hours also might want to ask their provider whether Tamiflu, an antiviral medication, is appropriate, ISDH said.

- No one with flu-like symptoms should visit.

There seems to be a lot of flu around, is it an epidemic? That number was up considerably from the week before when they reported 36 states.

Shortages of Tamiflu have been reported in Southern California over the weekend, but is now available at pharmacies in Parker, AZ. In moderately severe years, as this one is being called, 56,000 could die. In early 2017, 68 people died of the flu by February. Only injectable flu shots are recommended for use again this season. Part of it is, there are reports about the flu vaccine not matching up to a certain type of influenza A as well as it had done in the past.

Pregnant women may receive any licensed, recommended, and age-appropriate flu vaccine.

Not only California but other places also severely affected by influenza.

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