MS confirms season's first pediatric flu death

MS confirms season's first pediatric flu death

Wintertime has arrived in Vermont, and so has flu season.

In all, 134 people have been hospitalized this season, with most of those also occurring in Northeast Oklahoma.

Vaccination shortages were first reported in Södermanland County in mid-November, but a health official there told broadcaster SVT that there were similar shortages throughout the country.

No appointment is necessary to get a flu vaccine at the Brownwood-Brown County Health Department. What should they say to those who have fears that the shot will give them the flu?

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With this start to the influenza season, she said the health district wanted to expand its offerings of the influenza vaccine beyond its normal immunization clinic hours, which are from 9 to 11 a.m.

Past year was one of the deadliest on record, with more than 80,000 people dying from the flu.

Experts say flu activity will likely increase between Thanksgiving and Christmas, so the health department says there is still time to get a flu shot to avoid the illness.

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To avoid getting sick, the department suggested, get a flu vaccine, wash hands often, cough or sneeze into tissues, clean shared surfaces, and avoid people who are sick with the flu.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends a flu vaccine for anyone six months of age or older, but some patients opt against it because of concerns about effectiveness or ingredients. They can also remind patients the flu can cause severe illness and death in some people, and the flu vaccine is a simple way to prevent this.

In 2008, New Jersey's Public Health Council issued a compulsory flu vaccination for all children before entering preschools and daycare centers.

While the vaccine is not flawless, it greatly reduces the chances of getting the flu and lessens the severity should one get ill.

Webby said a "slightly reassuring signal" this year is that the H1N1 strain is the dominant strain of flu circulating. If, however, you have symptoms of flu and are in a high risk group, are very sick or anxious about your illness, contact your health care provider. However, 41 percent of adults reported that they have not yet been vaccinated and that they have no intentions of getting vaccinated either.

More than 300 sites in Vermont offer flu vaccine, including supermarkets, pharmacies and health care providers.

Webby added that the vaccine is also safe.

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