According to the CDC,164 children died of seasonal influenza in the US last flu season.The adult mortality rate in 2010 was 0.2%,or 500 deaths per 100,000 people.On average,about 24,000 adults will die in a typical flu season.
Flu season varies.It can begin as early as October and run through Spring.Last season,hospitalisation for those 65 and older spiked in mid-December and peaked in mid-March.
The flu vaccine is available right now for those 6 months of age and up,and
everyone age 6 months and up is urged to get vaccinated.Last season,56.6% of children ages 6 months to 17 got vaccinated,and 41.5% of adults 18 and up.
This year,a new quadrivalent form of the vaccine is being rolled out.It protects against four strains of flu,rather than the traditional three.All FluMist vaccines will be quadrivalent this season.FluMist is only for people up to age 49.The quadrivalent injection will not be available everywhere,but by three years from now will become the standard vaccine.You may request the quadrivalent form from your provider,but you should still get vaccinated even if it isn't available in your area.The traditional trivalent shot is much better than nothing at all.There is also a concentrated,more effective form of the vaccine for those 65 and older.
It takes around two weeks for the flu vaccine to become effective in your body.The vaccine is on average 56% effective at preventing the flu;but is believed to lessen the flu's severity,even when it doesn't prevent it.
Complications of influenza include bacterial pneumonia;ear and sinus infections;dehydration;worsening of chronic conditions such as congestive heart failure,asthma and diabetes;and even heart attacks.