Find a flu shot before the flu finds you, health officials warn

Local health officials said there have been 15 deaths and a high level of hospitalizations related to the flu. No influenza-related child deaths have been reported in New Hampshire as of December 30, the most recent data avaialble from the state. There have been over 10,000 lab-confirmed cases this season, according to county data.

"Flu is everywhere in the USA right now", Jernigan said during a conference call with reporters. "As you get older, your immune system starts to not function as well, but for people with other underlying conditions, often Influenza can tip the balance".

Doctors said it is impossible to get the flu from the flu shot.

In Greater Williamsburg, about 80 percent of the cases have been a less severe strain of flu called "H1", Berg said.

St. Peter's will have more information about the limitations on their website when they go into effect.

"Even though the vaccine isn't as effective this season as it has been in the past, it helps your body to create protective antibodies that protects against other strains of the flu", said Dr. Brendan De Marco, associate director of infection control for CommUnityCare Health Centers.

Dr. Marijka Grey, regional medical director at WellSpan Medical Group, said this year's flu shot is only 10 percent to 30 percent effective.

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That's leading to a sharp rise in hospitalizations of people with laboratory confirmed flu, Jernigan said, citing numbers reported by hospitals.

Sentara family medicine and internal medicine practices have the vaccines for $75 out of pocket, but individuals without insurance can get the shot for $37.50, according to Sentara spokeswoman Kelsea Smith.

Even though the flu vaccine is not a great match this year, doctors still highly recommend receiving the shot.

This year's flu season has been markedly worse than those of the last few years.

The latest strain is less severe than the H3N2 Aussie Flu, but is more contagious, reports the Manchester Evening News.

If you get the flu, stay home and rest so you don't spread it to other people.

Of the more than 100 people who have died from the flu so far this season, 13 are children. "We strongly encourage people to protect themselves, particularly children 6 months and older and those people at high risk for complications related to the flu".

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