Pregnant Woman, 3 Children Die From Flu In Tennessee

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Nationwide, 106 people have died this flu season.

The statement from the diocese commended those working in the medical field, noting that "hospitals across Northern Ireland are now experiencing high numbers of patient admissions of those suffering from respiratory illnesses directly linked to the flu virus".

Doctor's visits for flu-like illness are rising.

Moreover, the flu season this year has only just begun. Influenza is considered to be "widespread" if cases cover a wide geographic distribution while states experience "high" levels of cases if documented instances of influenza at a given time are much greater than seasonal averages.

Dr. O'Keefe adds that this year's flu isn't like recent years, and every year is different.

Health officials noted that flu-like symptoms among children as well as adults may improve but then return with fever and a worse cough.

"It's a virus that is a flu strain that's been seen before", he said.

Vaccine effectiveness typically ranges from 40 to 60 percent in a good year. Twenty-seven people younger than 65 have died as result of the outbreak while only three died during the same period past year. Last season's vaccine was only 32 percent effective against H3N2.

Chief Executive of Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Karen Partington, said: "Like other NHS organisations across the country, we have seen an increase in respiratory conditions, more severe illness, and an increase in flu which means our hospitals are very busy". This year there seems to be a 50-50 split.

These anti-viral agents work only when given within 48 hours of the onset of flu symptoms.

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"Even though it's not flawless, it's still the best protection we have".

Despite that, he said, "it's still extremely important to get the vaccine".

"It is late and so do not walk, run", said Schaffner.

With kids going back to school, doctors say that could expose kids to the virus even more.

By comparison, three deaths were recorded for all age groups for the entire flu season past year, according to the Public Health Department. "So, we recommend getting vaccinated as soon as possible", the KCDC official said. "Not only will she get protection, but she'll also pass those antibodies along to her infant, which will protect them for the first 6 months of life when the infant is too young to get the vaccine". Due to the shortage of medicines, the pharmacies have run out of flu medicines.

For those who do get the flu, Shaffner said, avoid contact with others. Individuals with the flu should stay home.

"If you get sick, call your provider, because your provider might prescribe an antiviral", Schaffner said.

We already mentioned the early outbreak. And you can keep infecting others with the flu up to five to seven days after you become sick.

This article was written for ABC News by Mariam Alam M.D.

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