Did you know that you can actually check the Health Department's website for a weekly flu report?
Apparently, the flu vaccine is not doing it's job well this year. It's only about 50-60% effective.
From the Arkansas Health Department's website:
To date, 28 influenza-related deaths have been reported in Arkansas this flu season among persons 45 and older. No pediatric death has been reported in Arkansas this flu season.
This influenza season, which began in early December and ends in late March, intensified over the holiday season and is shaping up to be a bad one, Haselow says.
"We are now at a level of flu that was higher than we’ve seen in the last five years. And it appears to be going up." - Dr. Dirk Haselow, state epidemiologist with the Arkansas Department of Health, monitors disease outbreaks in the state.
The virus, he says, first affected densely populated regions including Benton, Pulaski, and Sebastian Counties, but over the past month has spread across the state.
Key Facts about Seasonal Flu Vaccine
- Seasonal flu is a disease that causes mild to severe illness and is easily spread. Each year in the United States, 25-50 million infections are reported, more than 200,000 people are hospitalized and 23,600 die due to seasonal flu.
- The seasonal flu virus is spread through coughing or sneezing and by touching a hard surface with the virus on it and then touching your nose or mouth.
- Flu vaccine will not give you the flu! The shot is a vaccine that helps protect you against the seasonal flu virus.
- The best way to prevent the flu is to get the flu vaccine each year. The vaccine takes one to two weeks to start working and is 70 to 90 percent effective in preventing the seasonal flu.
The Importance of Seasonal Flu Vaccine
- Children can catch the flu more often than adults but they usually aren’t as sick. Parents should keep their sick children at home so they do not spread the flu to others.
- For older adults and others who are at risk of complications, flu vaccine can reduce hospitalizations by as much as 70 percent and deaths by 85 percent.
- The best way to protect yourself, your family.