Health Care

Flu Shots are Safe, Free, and Important

Pediatricians suggest getting flu shot by Halloween

Flu season is here, and the report of a child's death in Tampa has more people thinking about getting their annual vaccine.

The unidentified child was otherwise healthy before getting the flu, according to the Florida Department of Health's Bureau of Epidemiology.

More than 50-percent of parents believe their child can get the flu from the flu shot.

The flu vaccine reduces a person's risk of contracting the flu by about 40%, meaning even someone who receives a flu shot should take additional precautions. The CDC recommends everyone over 6 months of age get vaccinated by the end of October each year.

Thousands of staff across Qatar's health system have already received this year's flu vaccine.

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"Researchers also found more than 80 percent of pregnancies "overlapped with flu season", a finding which "[underscored] the likelihood that pregnant women will be exposed to flu at some point during their pregnancy", the CDC said. Last winter, an estimated 80,000 Americans died from the flu.

"This includes pregnant women, adults and children with chronic health conditions, and seniors". Pregnant women should also be sure to get the vaccine, doctors say, since research shows the baby they're carrying will also benefit after birth.

Florida health officials note that most pediatric deaths are reported in unvaccinated children. One was an unspecific strain and the other was strep throat. The flu season begins in October. "This season, influenza vaccines have been updated to better match the circulating strains". This is especially crucial because babies under the age of six months can not get flu shots.

The Department of Health and Community Services said the number of clinics will increase this year to help improve public access to the vaccine.

Anti-virals like Tamiflu are effective in lessening the symptoms of the flu but are most effective if administered within 48 hours of the onset of symptoms.