According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), February has been the virulent month since the 1982-1983 flu season. While many are skeptical of vaccination, the flu vaccine does not "cause" the flu. "So the vaccine will offer protection only for a year", Dr. Williams-Rodriguez explained.
People with an underlying health condition such as diabetes, bronchitis, COPD, heart disease or multiple sclerosis are advised to get themselves vaccinated as soon as possible. Depending on how good the selections of strains are, during a given flu season the effectiveness can vary widely.
One reason for this year's vaccine shortage is likely the severity of the last flu season, which in China lasts roughly from December through March.
Statistics like that can seem impersonal, but this one isn't: "One hundred and eighty families put a child in a grave a year ago because of a vaccine-preventable infection", according to Wendy Sue Swanson, a pediatrician at Seattle Children's Hospital.
"It's a dead virus", said Stiles, "it does not cause the flu".
The Florida Department of Health in Bay is offering free flu vaccines following Hurricane Michael.
"The main difference between a cold and the flu is persons with flu will get a fever and body aches, generalised body aches". Seniors respond less well to vaccines than younger people because, as we age, our immune system functions less well.
Leon's parents had planned on getting him vaccinated at a local pharmacy, but state law in Texas only allows pharmacists to administer the flu vaccine to children older than 7.
There is more of a need to get immunized in Goodhue County.
Becoming ill with a serious infection such as flu causes blood sugar levels to rise so high that they become risky, which is why people with diabetes, in particular, are at serious risk.
McKinstry and fellow immunologists are studying a group of white blood cells called T-cells. The development of a universal vaccine is more challenging but it promises much greater results, and deserves more support. As we've discussed, flu vaccines fight certain strains of the flu that are expected to be particularly virulent.