The flu virus has taken its toll on the population. As of February 6, Centers for Disease Control states there have been 53 pediatric deaths for the 2017-2018 flu season. Just in Nueces County, there have been 5,935 flu illnesses.
In an effort to stay healthy, and with another wave of the flu coming around, the flu vaccine is in high demand.
But, the question remains, is the flu vaccine as effective as years past?
Alma McDaniel, MD from CHRISTUS SPOHN, says "actually not so much this year because of the strain of flu that is predominant so far, according to the CDC. The flu vaccine that you get has that strain, you know, protection in it, but not as much as it does for the H1N1, the common influenza A."
According to the FDA, scientists make up the flu vaccine every year and base the effectiveness on what influenza strains might be the most common during that flu season. This year, H3N2 was the most common virus and Eurosurveillance says the flu vaccine is only 17% effective towards it, compared to Influenza B which is 55% effective.
But, doctors still recommend to get the flu vaccine if you have yet to do so.
"It is definitely important to get your flu vaccine every year, just because for the simple fact of, for one, the bad complications of the flu if you should get it. And also for the type of people who could get sick from the flu, especially your little kids, your elderly population, also pregnant women should be getting the flu vaccine," says McDaniel.
Doctors suggest seeing a physician if you start having any of the flu symptoms including: headaches, body aches and/or fever.
Experts also remind us to disinfect and wash our hands as often as possible.
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