Flu season typically begins each year in October, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), with flu activity peaking between December and February, and, at times, lasting until May.
The flu virus changes from year to year, and this year's vaccine protects against the flu viruses that are expected to cause the most illness this flu season.
Flu vaccines also are available at doctors' offices and pharmacies. "Flu shots do offer the best protection against seasonal flu". Adults 65 and older, children, pregnant women and those with compromised immune systems are among those that are the most at risk. "CDC recommends everyone 6 months of age and older get vaccinated annually".
The HHSA is sponsoring several free flu-shot clinics this month.
In Idaho, a state resident has died in what health officials are saying is their first flu death of the season. Past year the first flu-related death in Idaho occurred in December, and a total of 72 individuals in the state died due to flu-related illnesses. Seasonal flu is an acute respiratory infection caused by influenza virus. "Immunity to influenza weakens over time and different flu virus strains generally circulate each year".
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To date there have been 221 cases reported this "flu season", with one fatality, according to the county Health and Human Services Agency.
The number of influenza cases so far this fall is outrunning last year's pace by more than 3-to-1, San Diego County health officials reported Wednesday. About 5 percent to 20 percent of the USA population gets the flu each year.
"We need to take responsibility in helping to protect our community from the flu by getting a flu shot combined with practicing good handwashing, covering sneezes and cough with the crook of their arm, keeping a distance from others who are sick, and staying home if not feeling well", said administrator Terre Banks.
The flu vaccine is safe and does not cause the flu, states the Arkansas Department of Health.