Flu Season 2017: Is It Too Late To Get A Flu Shot?

A flu vaccine is injected in Montreal Tuesday

Health officials warn of bad flu season this year, but still recommend the flu shot.

At the core of vaccine creation lies hemagglutinin, a protein on influenza viruses that allows flu to penetrate cells. In the last week, cases in Washington State are also on the rise. Experts believe that the United States will have to endure the most unsafe flu season, with the same characteristics as the 2014 outbreak.

Makers of the vaccine, though, say the strain of the flu that hit Australia may not be the same one that affects the US this year. In Australia, where winter flu season occurs during the Northern Hemisphere's summertime, health officials saw quite a bit of flu cases caused by the H3N2 strain-a strain typically associated with more hospitalizations and more deaths.

A total of 282 reported lab cases of the flu were confirmed previous year in Genesee County and 83 reported lab cases of the flu confirmed in Orleans County. "In fact, in a year where it's low effectiveness, it's even more important that everybody get it so we can get as much resistance and we don't allow the virus to thrive and grow and keep changing".

The CDC estimates that the flu virus has caused between 9.2 million and 35.6 million illnesses in the USA each year since 2010.

This possibility underscores the need to strive toward a "universal" influenza vaccine that will protect against seasonal influenza drift variants as well as potential pandemic strains, with better durability than current annual vaccines.

Allegheny County Health Department Director Dr. Karen Hacker tells the "KDKA Morning News" it is important that people still get immunized.

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"It doesn't necessarily mean flu shots won't work here, or suggest how intense our flu season will be, but it's a good predictor", Crain stated.

Flu season starts at the beginning of October and runs until May or June.

Researchers found antibodies elicited by the vaccine in ferrets and humans "did a poor job of neutralizing H3N2 viruses that circulated last year".

"I know 100% that if you don't get a flu vaccine you will have no protection", Burstein said.

Though the accuracy and effectiveness of each year's vaccine varies, this year's seems on track to provide good protection against the Influenza A strains now predominating, health officials say.

"Every year we have several folks die from influenza".

Other ways to stay healthy that you may not think of include staying active and managing stress, which can help give your immune system a boost.

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