Harford Health Department offers flu shot clinics for school-aged children

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The Iowa Department of Public Health is reporting the first flu-related death of the 2017-2018 influenza season.

The CDC recommends getting vaccinated before the end of October.

The uncertainty of when the flu will strike has local health officials encouraging everyone 6 months and older to get vaccinated now.

In addition, Melnick said, it can take up to two weeks for immunization protection to kick in.

It's true that the effectiveness of the flu vaccine fluctuates from year to year and that it's less effective than other vaccines because flu viruses rapidly evolve.

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Because flu viruses are constantly changing, the vaccine composition is reviewed each year and is updated as needed based on which influenza viruses are making people sick, the news release states. People who are not at high risk for serious flu complications may also be treated with influenza antiviral drugs, especially if treatment can begin within 48 hours. The viruses in the flu shot are inactivated (i.e., killed) which means they can not cause infection.

Traditional flu vaccines protect against three different strains of the flu: two influenza A viruses (an H1N1 and an H3N2) and an influenza B virus. Flu symptoms may include fever, headache, tiredness, cough, sore throat, nasal congestion and body aches.

Garvey says Iowa's flu season generally hits its peak during the months of January and February.

That's right on track for a normal flu season.

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