Flu season less severe than previous year

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The best way to prevent seasonal flu is to get vaccinated every year, but be sure to practice good health habits, such as handwashing with soap and water, covering your nose and mouth when coughing and sneezing and staying home when sick.

Influenza or the flu is a respiratory infection with symptoms similar to a cold but much more severe including a high fever for several days, body aches, fatigue and weakness.

Health professionals urge people to get vaccinated. "Only the flu shot will be given".

"I think that parents should be aware that the flu shot is very mild in general, that it only takes a few seconds, and that usually there is very little reaction to it", Dr. Bhargava says. "But it's still given because some people are afraid of needles and they have that option but we highly don't recommend it", said Michelle, Licensed Vocational Nurse at Kaiser Permanente Martinez Medical Center.

Health officials also reported 183 flu-related deaths among children, although the CDC estimates the actual number of deaths was more than 600. That's the eventual goal of researchers at the University of Iowa who are working with the National Institutes of Health to develop what they call a "universal" flu shot. "Plus you are limited to what vaccine is offered: standard and high-dose and it is only 20-30 percent effective and yet some people still choose it".

The flu vaccine is made each year based on scientists' predictions of which influenza virus strains will be most problematic in the United States.

Avoid people who appear sick.

You can locate a nearby flu shot clinic at 2-1-1 Arizona or Stop the Spread AZ, or by calling 211 within Arizona or toll free 1-877-211-8661 from anywhere. Kevin Legge, a U-I pathology professor, says they're working in stages and are trying to ideal a multi-year flu shot first.

The following news release was issued by the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit regarding flu vaccines. By protecting yourself against influenza, you are also protecting your family, your household, your workplace and ultimately your community.

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