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Rise in Flu Cases Prompts Hospitals to Call for Limiting Patient Visits

Rise in Flu Cases Prompts Hospitals to Call for Limiting Patient Visits

If the vaccine doesn't fully prevent the illness, it can help keep symptoms from being as severe if you do get the flu, Schneider said.

"They had an exceptionally bad flu season", Schneider said. "Therefore everyone should be immunized regardless of high risk or not". Health officials recommend a flu vaccination for everyone over 6 months old, especially pregnant women, the elderly and those with weakened immune systems.

William Schaffner, an infectious disease doctor at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, says the H3N2 strain came early and they're already seeing people hospitalized.

"That is why I am urging two and three year olds to get vaccinated". The vaccine formulation is the same one that was used during Australia's most recent flu season - a typical indication of what the U-S may face - but experts say it was only 10% effective there. "So sometimes you can stay home through the first day or two of a fever and avoid the risk of getting something else".

"It's not too surprising this time of year", said Amie Worthington, influenza surveillance coordinator for KDHE. "Subtle changes in the DNA and RNA sequences change the flu strain and make it more resistant".

An estimated 5 to 20 percent of people are expected to get the flu this year, depending on the severity of the season, according to a KDHE release. Close by states SC and MS are now experiencing high activity.

As for the reason behind the increased influence of influenza in the Deep South, Ulich said radical weather changes may be part of the cause. "You may even thank yourself". So far this flu season, there have been 401 flu-associated hospitalizations.

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