Published: Sat, October 06, 2018
Medical | By Vicki Mclaughlin

What Made the Last Flu Season So Deadly?

What Made the Last Flu Season So Deadly?

Chicago was not spared.

October is considered the start of flu season and medical professionals recommend that most everyone be vaccinated to prevent illness. That's more than double the previous season, during which 275 were admitted.

This year, the flu mist is available, but it's not for everyone.

Area emergency rooms, including Stroger Hospital's, were inundated with sick patients.

"I didn't get a vaccine past year because I was procrastinating and, surprise, I got influenza", Blackwell said.

"It's hard to predict exactly what will be the predominant strain but getting a flu shot is the most effective way to prevent the flu". Delivery of supplies of certain flu vaccines to GP practices and community pharmacies will be staggered between September and November.

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Last season's vaccine was about 40 percent effective, Martell said.

It's not only colder weather that comes with fall.

Despite the uncertainty, he says getting the influenza vaccine - either in a shot or nasal spray - is best done early.

Flu vaccines have been updated to better match circulating viruses. Nurses say there are still some benefits to getting the shot. "Everyone needs to give the vaccine more credit". Adams said the 2017-2018 season was the worst flu season nationwide since 2009 with the CDC reporting approximately 80,000 deaths attributed to the flu and infection complications. Influenza vaccination should begin soon after vaccine becomes available. That may be the difference between a weeklong stay in intensive care and a few days spent in bed with aches and sniffles. It takes about two weeks after getting the flu vaccine for antibodies that protect against the flu to develop in the body, according to the CDC. If you get a sore arm, swelling or fever, it is a natural reaction of the body. "There are a lot of places the general public can go to get vaccinated". "We encourage everyone to come to the mass clinic or the local health unit to get their flu shot". "Research has shown the flu vaccine can still provide some protection against new strains of flu and can reduce severe health outcomes such as hospitalization and death", she said. "Sixteen influenza-associated deaths were reported for that season".

Other students have been getting the flu shots because of the convenience of having the health center on campus. No out-of-pocket expense will be charged by the Health Department.

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