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Flu Season is in Full Swing, But Not Too Late to Get The Vaccine

Experts are advising that there is still time to get the flu vaccine in an attempt to reduce the seriousness of this year's strain.

AFP Relaxnews

Updated:January 16, 2018, 2:04 PM IST
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Flu Season is in Full Swing, But Not Too Late to Get The Vaccine
Experts are urging those who haven't yet being vaccinated against this year's flu strain to do so, in an attempt to reduce symptoms and the risk of death. (Photo courtesy: AFP Relaxnews/ Imgorthand/ Istock.com)
With every state in the USA currently reporting widespread flu activity, experts are advising that there is still time to get the flu vaccine in an attempt to reduce the seriousness of this year's strain.

This flu season has seen the US hit by a particularly dominant strain of the virus all across the country, with the California Department of Public Health announcing that flu activity in California is at levels usually only seen at the peak of flu season, and the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health reporting 36 confirmed flu deaths this year in the county alone, up from 13 this time last year.

Although it has been widely reported that this year's flu vaccine is not particularly effective, Dr. Deborah Lehman, an infectious diseases specialist and a professor of clinical pediatrics in the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, is still urging the public to get vaccinated.

"True, the current flu vaccine is not a great vaccine," Lehman says. "But it's a good vaccine -- and it's better than no vaccine."

"When people hear the vaccine isn't that effective, they assume there's no point in getting it -- and that's very frustrating," she says, "The vaccine may not completely prevent the flu. But it does help the body launch an immune response."

Although those who get the vaccine may still catch this year's strain of flu, it can help reduce the symptoms to a fever, cough and a general feeling of being sick and rundown that could last just a few days or more.

"Studies have shown that vaccines prevent against serious illness and death," said Lehman, "That's really important. Even if it doesn't provide full protection, the vaccine may provide some partial protection."

Dr. Joseph Ladapo, an associate professor of medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, also told consumer review website Consumer Affairs that, "[F]or some patients, the flu vaccine actually can decrease their risk of death. We have seen randomized trials of patients with heart disease, which show that getting the flu vaccine reduces their risk of having a heart attack or other cardiac event. Amazingly, the flu vaccine in these patients can be almost as effective for preventing cardiac events as taking a statin."

He also gave his advice on how everyone can reduce their risk of catching virus with a few simple steps:

Get enough sleep.
Eat a balanced diet.
Exercise regularly.
Give zinc a try, but don't overdo it.
Stay away from sick people.
Wash your hands, wash your hands, wash your hands.
And ... get the vaccine.

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| Edited by: Manila Venugopal
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