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CDC: Get Your Flu Shot

It's National Influenza Vaccination Week. Did you get your flu shot?

More than one-third of United States residents have already been vaccinated against the influenza virus, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Monday. With National Influenza Vaccination Week, which started last Sunday and ends Saturday, health officials aim to increase that percentage, especially since this year's season may be a bad one.

Influenza—more commonly known as simply "the flu"—is a contagious respiratory illness caused by viruses infecting the nose, throat and lungs. It spreads via infected people coughing, sneezing or talking, though people can also get infected by touching something with the flu virus on it before touching their mouth, eyes or nose.

The 2012-2013 season is shaping up to be one of the worst flu seasons in a while, officials from the CDC said in a teleconference Monday. There have been a larger number of suspected flu cases than usual in five Southern states, and this year's strain may be more virulent. Already, two children have died of the illness.

A similar flu virus struck during the 2003-2004 season, killing more than 48,000 people in one of the most lethal seasons in the past 35 years. Nevertheless, this year's vaccination appears to be better matched to the virus.

"It looks like it's shaping up to be a bad flu season, but only time will tell," CDC Director Dr. Thomas Frieden said.

So far, California and surrounding states have not reported regional or widespread flu activity; however, a jump in the number of influenza cases usually doesn't occur until after Christmas.

“Flu season typically peaks in February and can last as late as May,” Dr. Anne Schuchat, Assistant Surgeon General of the U.S. Public Health Service and Director of CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, said in a news release. “We are encouraging people who have not yet been vaccinated to get vaccinated now.”

More than 200,000 people each year are hospitalized due to complications from the flu, according to the CDC.

Symptoms of the flu include muscle or body aches, headaches, cough, sore throat, fatigue, fever or chills, and vomiting and diarrhea (the latter two are more common in kids). The flu can also worsen chronic medical conditions or cause death.

People are contagious a day before symptoms appear and up to a week after getting sick.

The CDC recommends getting annual vaccines as early as possible, as it takes a few weeks to reach full immunity.

As part of the campaign to vaccinate more people against the influenza virus, the CDC is sponsoring a daily blog on About.com until Friday and will host a Twitter chat Wednesday from 10-11 a.m. Pacific Time.

During the Twitter chat, influenza expert Dr. Mike Jhung will be on hand to answer questions about the flu and the vaccine. People can submit questions and follow the chat using the hashtag #NIVW2012.

Vaccines often cost $20-$30; however, they are often covered by insurance.

Flu shots are an inactivated vaccine made from killed virus, which means it’s impossible to get the flu from the vaccine, according to Dr. Angela Rasmussen, an infectious disease expert.

There are currently three flu shots being produced in the U.S.: the regular (intramuscular) seasonal flu shot, a high-dose vaccine for people 65 and older, and an intradermal (injected into the skin) vaccine for people ages 18 to 64.

In addition, a nasal-spray flu vaccine made with live, weakened flu viruses (which also do not cause the flu) is available to healthy people ages 2 to 49 years old, except pregnant women.

The most common side effect from a flu shot is soreness at the injection site.

Even those who think they don't need a flu shot should get one anyway, according to Jack Cantlin, a pharmacist and the divisional vice president of retail clinical services at Walgreens. It's possible to contract the virus and carry it without being sick.

The elderly, young children, pregnant women and nursing home residents are at greater risk for serious complications from the flu. People with chronic medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes, cystic fibrosis and chronic lung disease—as well as those who work with them—are also at risk.

“People at high risk should talk with their doctor about getting a high-dose 
flu shot, as this can provide better protection for people with immune
 systems that have been weakened by age or other medical conditions,” Rasmussen said.

People with severe chicken egg allergies, a history of Guillain-Barré syndrome, and those who have had a severe reaction to a flu vaccine in the past should consult their doctor before getting a flu shot, and those who have a moderate or severe illness with a fever should wait to get vaccinated until they are well. Babies under six months of age should not get a flu shot.

—Melanie Rosen contributed to this report.

julie dawson December 08, 2012 at 08:33 PM
Both of you are obviously to stupid to comment on the innfo, I should have known Carla would be here anxiously awaiting to respond like a stupid teenager, with no life. You get the last word Carla, I know you will die without it so once again as I have done in the past I will help you out.
Carl Petersen III December 08, 2012 at 08:38 PM
julie dawson 12:33 pm on Saturday, December 8, 2012 "Both of you are obviously to stupid to comment on the innfo, I should have known Carla would be here anxiously awaiting to respond like a stupid teenager, with no life. You get the last word Carla, I know you will die without it so once again as I have done in the past I will help you out." . . Do really think that we are "to" stupid. Are you sure we aren't "two" stupid? Was your post supposed to be a trick? You said that I was getting the last word, but if I didn't respond, you would have gotten the last word.
Shripathi Kamath December 08, 2012 at 08:56 PM
Carl Petersen III 35 minutes ago "In fairness to the Conservatives, Julie seems to be the only one who is totally anti-vaccine." In fairness to the rest of us, the Conservatives seems to be the group that has a massively disproportionate number of total anti-vaccers. Bill Maher and what Jenny McCarthy is, being notable exceptions. Julie just moved the Overton Window so far that the rest seem "unfairly" picked on. A ploy that has worked really well for the social, anti-science conservatives for about two decades now, So really, in all fairness, one should not be giving other Consevatives free passes just because they are not as wingnutty as one specific one.
Deedee Strange December 09, 2012 at 08:16 PM
Viruses don't contain bacteria. A flu shot protects you from influenza virus, not from bacterial infections. They are not the same thing.
julie dawson December 10, 2012 at 01:47 AM
Carol and shrimp breath two stupid liberals that trust everything the government tells you. Both of you are cowards afraid to branch out away from your views that the government is 100% correct would allow anything injected into your bodies. Keep trusting Obama idiots, by the end of his rein our country will have more dependency and debt. I know the word debt means nothing to liberal cowards. And by the way no one commented on the information I posted, I realize it is some what hard to understand for a lay person with no medical back ground, but you idiots have no reason to try, why, because the government loves you, and takes care of you. Shrimp breath you twisted my words like most liberals do. I never said I was anti vaccine I said I was anti mercury, but the latest research wants to use substrates from cancerous tumors, that is science I will keep an eye on, but you and carla would roll your sleeve up no matter what. God you two are stupid. The government loves you lol. Hello out there is there any one with half a brain left.
julie dawson December 10, 2012 at 01:55 AM
You can,t school an arrogant A hole with the maturity of a 16 year old, hell Carol probably is 16. In fairness to shrimp breath she is smarter than Caorl.
Doug Curlee December 10, 2012 at 02:10 AM
yes, julie.. there are many of us with functioning brains.. and we are all agreed on one salient fact.. you're an idiot. doug
julie dawson December 10, 2012 at 02:16 AM
Thank you Doug coming from a liberal Obama zombie I take that as a compliment. Now Douge roll up your sleeve, the government loves you. :)
julie dawson December 10, 2012 at 02:18 AM
Ohh Carla where are you it usually only takes you five seconds to respond, you're slacking.
julie dawson December 10, 2012 at 02:22 AM
Hey curlee boy if you have a brain respond to the info. Could it be Curlee you are more worried about the hole to put that thing dangling between your legs in to care? That hole is more important to a liberal than the debt and the trillions of derivatives that continue to accumulate, right curlee?
Carl Petersen III December 10, 2012 at 05:27 AM
julie dawson 6:18 pm on Sunday, December 9, 2012 Ohh Carla where are you it usually only takes you five seconds to respond, you're slacking. . . I thought that you were giving me the last word? . . julie dawson 12:33 pm on Saturday, December 8, 2012 "You get the last word Carla, I know you will die without it so once again as I have done in the past I will help you out."
Carl Petersen III December 10, 2012 at 05:34 AM
julie dawson 5:47 pm on Sunday, December 9, 2012 "Both of you are cowards afraid to branch out away from your views that the government is 100% correct would allow anything injected into your bodies." . . Isn't it the Conservative viewpoint that we don't need regulatory agencies like the FDA because business can be trusted to do the right thing?
Carl Petersen III December 10, 2012 at 05:35 AM
julie dawson 5:47 pm on Sunday, December 9, 2012 "Keep trusting Obama idiots, by the end of his rein our country will have more dependency and debt. I know the word debt means nothing to liberal cowards. " . . What does this have to do with anything that is being discussed? Do you think that we should cut the FDA or the CDC so that the deficit can be reduced.
Carl Petersen III December 10, 2012 at 05:42 AM
julie dawson 5:47 pm on Sunday, December 9, 2012 "And by the way no one commented on the information I posted, I realize it is some what hard to understand for a lay person with no medical back ground, but you idiots have no reason to try, why, because the government loves you, and takes care of you. " . . I count nine different responses under your link. They may not be the comments that you like, but they are comments. I for one am not going to comment of the scientific validity of the research as I am not a scientist.
Carl Petersen III December 10, 2012 at 05:44 AM
julie dawson 5:47 pm on Sunday, December 9, 2012 "Shrimp breath you twisted my words like most liberals do. I never said I was anti vaccine I said I was anti mercury," . . And I asked on several occasions if you would take the vaccine without mercury and you didn't answer.
Carl Petersen III December 10, 2012 at 05:48 AM
julie dawson 5:47 pm on Sunday, December 9, 2012 "but the latest research wants to use substrates from cancerous tumors, that is science I will keep an eye on, but you and carla would roll your sleeve up no matter what. " . . The key word is "research." Scientists aren't sending something to market, they are studying and exploring - that is what they do. That is how Small Pox got eliminated. That is why no one gets polio anymore.
Carl Petersen III December 10, 2012 at 05:50 AM
julie dawson 5:47 pm on Sunday, December 9, 2012 "The government loves you lol. " . . The government is not a living being. It doesn't love you and it doesn't hate you.
Carl Petersen III December 10, 2012 at 05:51 AM
julie dawson 5:47 pm on Sunday, December 9, 2012 "Hello out there is there any one with half a brain left." . . That would be you. The rest of us are functioning on full brains.
Roberto December 10, 2012 at 05:52 AM
Carl Petersen III 9:27 pm on Sunday, December 9, 2012 Got my flu shot Friday which is late for me. I missed it at work due to my schedule.
Vic December 10, 2012 at 06:05 AM
Seriously, give it up, you guys.....
RATSJ December 10, 2012 at 07:20 AM
Hey Mr. Editor don't you think this issue has gotten out of control. PLEASE let's move on to something else. I didn't know there were so many scientists and doctors that had nothing to do but post on here (sneering as I write that comment).
Ed Sorrels December 10, 2012 at 08:03 AM
I am facinated, I keep reading the posts and can't believe that we have that many haters here in our city most of whom have their half of the story and argue that it is correct, But with the years I have learned that real truth lie's most times somewhere between the two opposing arguements and not to be so bold as to decree that I am a damnn expert on anything which is true of most of us if we will just shut the hell up and listen and accept the fact that none of us know's it all, or even the best part ofd it, what ever IT might be !
Komfort December 10, 2012 at 02:17 PM
http://www.cdc.gov/ncezid/dgmq/
Carl Petersen III December 10, 2012 at 03:39 PM
Ed Sorrels 12:03 am on Monday, December 10, 2012 "But with the years I have learned that real truth lie's most times somewhere between the two opposing arguements and not to be so bold as to decree that I am a damnn expert on anything which is true of most of us if we will just shut the hell up and listen and accept the fact that none of us know's it all, or even the best part ofd it, what ever IT might be !" . . There is a false equivalency in your argument. When Conservatives don't agree with something, they seek to ban it. "I think that abortion is moral, so no one should be allowed to make that choice," "The bible says that being gay is a sin, so gays should not be allowed to marry," "Some people abuse welfare, so we should eliminate these programs," "My religion enforces these rules, so these rules should be the law of the land." Liberals do not seek to enforce there rules on others other than to promote choice."Regardless of my moral position on abortion, I believe everyone is free to make that difficult decision," "Regardless of my sexuality, I believe that all people deserve the same equal rights, so gays should be allowed to marry," "Some people need welfare, so we should maintain these programs," "I have my own religious beliefs, so these rules should apply to me."
Carl Petersen III December 10, 2012 at 05:26 PM
Is there a point that you are making with this link?
Things I Learned December 10, 2012 at 06:41 PM
You should not deny science.
Ron Selkovitch December 10, 2012 at 06:46 PM
Just had minor surgery. My surgeon had his flu shot.
SensitiveSam December 12, 2012 at 06:58 PM
I used to be like Julie Dawson. I had all my family use natural remedies. Half of them died. I had the rest of my family use regular remedies from a doctor, they all lived. I'm no longer like Julie Dawson.
Rose Young-Stewart January 14, 2013 at 04:24 AM
You have contradicted yourself in two places Virus and bacteria two different organisms ...... ''''fight against the virus which has LOTS of bacteria". it doesnt make sense.
Rose Young-Stewart January 14, 2013 at 04:26 AM
There are times when you think you've heard it all and boom ! There is another stupid person saying another stupid sentence.

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