Flu season deaths top 80,000 previous year, CDC says

Health officials working to make flu shot more effective

Mass immunisation to combat the flu

The health department also accepts Medicaid and participates in the Vaccine for Children program.

An estimated 80,000 Americans died of flu and its complications last winter, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Flu activity traditionally begins to increase in October and can last as late as May, with cases typically peaking between December and February. That strain tended to send people to the hospital and result in fatalities, particularly among those who are vulnerable, such as young children and the elderly.

"The thing that was most notable about a year ago was how high in terms of activity things were", said Nordlund.

With the approach of flu season, the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) is recommending all Ohioans six months and older get a flu shot as soon as possible.

Last year, the Miller County Health Unit gave out 400 doses of the vaccine.

Miller County Health officials made tackling the flu season a lot easier Wednesday with a drive-by flu clinic. But they said it is not expected to go down.

The flu vaccine may take up to two weeks to become effective, so getting it earlier in the season is ideal, OHA disease and vaccine experts say.

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"Most people with the flu have mild illness and don't need medical care or antiviral drugs", the CDC stated in a recent bulletin. The estimate of 80,000 deaths past year, still considered preliminary, eclipses the estimates for every flu season going back to the winter of 1976-1977.

In previous seasons, flu-related deaths have ranged from a low of about 12,000 during the 2011-2012 season to a high of about 56,000 during the 2012-2013. Estimates for many earlier seasons were not readily available.

The makeup of the vaccine has been changed this year to try to better protect against expected strains.

"I think a lot of people had a bad experience a year ago", she said. But the vaccine has been tweaked to better match circulating strains, including getting an updated H3N2 component.

Question 3: Do you know if this year's flu vaccine strain will work? Vaccines typically come in trivalent (protecting against three viruses - two A-strains and one B-strain) or quadrivalent (protecting against four strains - two A-strains and two B-strains).

Now that the end of September is here, it's definitely a good time to get vaccinated for flu season.

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