Wednesday, 12 December, 2018

As flu deaths continue, some pharmacies are low on vaccines

Lucy Nicholson  Reuters Lucy Nicholson Reuters
Melissa Porter | 09 February, 2018, 01:57

This year the flu is particularly serious, with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announcing on January 26 that the flu activity has not yet peaked for the season.

MI officials say a resident of the Upper Peninsula is the first child in the state to die from the flu this season.

Tamiflu is a safe and effective drug for reducing the severity of influenza for patients of all ages, including children, officials say.

Even though it's now deep into flu season, people can still get a flu shot, although shots are not foolproof.

The health department is still urging people to get the flu vaccination this season.

Most flu vaccines are covered by insurance, Medicare and Medicaid. Currently, this flu season is reported to be at week 11 having started early with the potential to last longer.

"This has been an extremely rough flu season and the entire country has been hit hard", said Lawton Davis, M.D., health director for the Coastal Health District. Officials report 14 in Oklahoma County and 92 deaths elsewhere across the state.

The Arkansas Department of Health has deemed this flu season the worst in almost two decades after nearly 30 more people have died since last week. "Staying home when you are sick and practicing good health habits like covering your cough and washing your hands helps stop the spread of germs and prevents respiratory illnesses like the flu".

Officials say the number of people showing up at emergency departments due to the flu has decreased within the last week from six to five percent.

Dr. Shereen Alikhan, a pediatrician, said doing so can especially help kids who are susceptible to getting sick.

The Health Department has recorded more than 36,000 positive flu tests in Arkansas since October 1.

Wash your hands often with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.