As effectiveness is questioned, health officials encourage getting flu shot

Source WLBT archives

But a new study is raising doubts about this year's flu shot. This year, the percentage of patients reporting flu-like symptoms reached the threshold of 2.2% by late November, an indication that flu season has started. Dr. William Schaffner, who is involved in the CDC's flu surveillance network in Tennessee, has noticed cases of influenza picking up "dramatically" in the last week. The Centers for Disease Control's effectiveness studies measure laboratory-confirmed flu illnesses that result in a doctor's visit or those that result in hospitalization.

This year's flu shot is the same one used in Australia's recent flu season when it was only 10-percent effective.

Long before the beginning of the flu season, scientists try to determine which strains of the virus will be most prevalent during a given season and concoct a vaccine with those strains in mind.

"Every year, there are deaths from influenza and pneumonia, and certainly, influenza is something to be concerned about", Sweeney said. National Influenza Vaccination Week is December 3-9, and the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) encourages all Georgians to get their flu vaccine. Or the vaccine itself may mutate while it is being grown - currently, vaccines are grown in eggs, but many experts don't think that's ideal as the vaccine virus tends to undergo mutations to adapt to growing in an egg.

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The virus is now widespread in four states. Parents also need to know when to keep kids home. These remedies can help you recover quicker, and can potentially prevent you from being hospitalized with flu complications.

Clean - Wash your hands frequently with warm, soapy water.

Those most at risk include the very young, the very old and those with weakened immune systems.

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