First 2 flu-related deaths of season in Washoe County

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If passed, the legislation would protect healthcare professionals from being fired for refusing a flu shot.

Flu shots are available at more than 300 locations around Vermont. It's a real time reporting software program that can detect an outbreak of an infectious disease such as the flu very early.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends a yearly flu vaccination as the first and most important step in protecting against the flu. It's the hallmark of the influenza virus, and now comes word that this year's vaccine may only be 10% effective.

The number of lab-confirmed cases is up to 304, up more than 100 from last week.

No, we aren't talking about the holidays, but flu season.

"It makes me a little sad that people across the country - especially pregnant women - may not be getting the recommended and appropriate health care", Altmann said.

Flu activity, which has been increasing since the start of November, is now higher than usual for this time of year, according to a report published Thursday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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For the elderly or others who are especially vulnerable, a doctor may prescribe an antiviral medication to help lesson symptoms.

Usually, a H3N2 portends a severe flu year, but mild H3N2 years have also occurred, she said.

However, doctors insist we can not underestimate the importance of "herd immunity", and that the shot may be more effective as lessening illness in those who do get sick.

"It hits you like a freight train", she said. The flu vaccine changes each year in anticipation of the strains mostly likely to predominate in the season ahead. "Many are hospitalized and some die". Early reports are questioning the effectiveness of this year's vaccine.

Lin, who chaired the meeting, said that doctors have reported that while hepatitis A vaccines have been administered to children older than 12 months, they are not included in subsidies for children's standard vaccinations, which might result in doctors being unable to apply for reimbursement of vaccination costs. You can also get the flu by touching a surface or object that has the flu virus on it and then touching your mouth, eyes or nose.

And while it may not work well against H3N2, she said it's worth getting the shot for protection against infection with H1N1 and even the B strain (the B/Victoria components may offer cross-protection against B/Yamagata).