Arkansas health officials report out-of-season uptick in flu cases

Lynette PayneSep 22, 2018

The flu season starts in October and runs through May.

Last year's flu season was worse than many previous years in Ionia County with almost 3,000 cases reported to the health department, according to Bevington.

"A live vaccine is going to have actual particles of the virus, but it has been reduced down to where it will not actually cause the flu", said Dr. Livingston.

Olga says that this vaccination clinic makes her life easier, as this is just one less concern in her hectic day.

Five companies make flu vaccine for the US market.

The age recommendation for Fluarix Equivalent, which uses mammalian culture rather than chicken embryos, was changed from 3 years old and older to 6 months and older. "Even if it is not a ideal match for all this year's flu strains, the flu vaccine will provide some protection and reduce your chances of needing to be hospitalized if you do get sick".

For those who get sick, she said, the vaccine has been shown to lower the risk of death by 80 percent and hospitalization by 70 percent.

"Get that shot", says Dr. Sharma.

This year's trivalent vaccines will protect against the A/Michigan strain, a H1N1-like virus; A/Singapore, a H3N2-like virus; and B/Colorado (Victoria lineage), while the quadrivalent vaccine will also protect against the B/Phuket strain (Yamagata lineage).

"There are several different flu viruses".

There are very few medical reasons to skip the flu vaccine.

Effective October 1, the flu vaccine is available at Margaret Mary's Occupational Health and Wellness Center located on State Road 229 in Batesville, behind First Financial Bank.

According to the CDC, African Americans and Hispanics/Latinos are disparate populations that experience disproportionately higher rates of chronic health conditions, such as asthma, diabetes and heart diseases, as well as extreme obesity which are all conditions that place them at higher risk for severe influenza complications.

Some school districts, such as in Palm Beach County, have already started social media campaigns to spread awareness of the coming flu season and have begun programs to offer shots for children.

➜ 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 18, at Heritage Woods in Watseka.

Consumers can visit www.CVS.com and www.MinuteClinic.com for further information and to find a nearby pharmacy or clinic.

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