Flu Season is off to a Slow Start: No Cases Reported Yet in VT

Some good health news! The flu season is off to a slow start. So far, there have been no reported outbreaks in Vermont.
Some good health news! The flu season is off to a slow start. So far, there have been no reported outbreaks in Vermont. Health leaders say this year's vaccine is a pretty close match to the flu virus, so more people are protected.

One pharmacist told me today that those who get the flu this year will get the flu shot next year, because it really is awful - and, while it is rare, it can even be deadly.

The symptoms of the flu are ones you want to avoid. "Headaches, body aches, often times you feel like you've been run over by a truck," Chris Finley said, immunization program manager at the Department of Health.

Finley says everyone six months and older needs a flu shot every year. That's because every year, the strain changes. Good news though, this year’s shot seems to be a good match to the real deal.

"It decreases your risk of getting the flu by 60 percent," Finley said.

Pregnant women, babies, people with compromised immune systems, and the elderly are the most at risk for the flu. About 200,000 people are hospitalized every year.

"I never had a flu vaccine until five years ago and our grandson was born, he's a Down Syndrome child and I was taking care of him a lot and I knew I needed to be protected. It's very important for people who are older, the older generation because we're more fragile," Ginger Isham said, who I bumped into at Kinney Drugs.

"Children less than six months of age can't be protected, so it's really important for those who are caring for, and are in households with children less than six months of age to have a flu vaccine so that you help protect the ones who can't be vaccinated," Finley added.

Today, there are no reported cases in Vermont. "It’s likely circulating, but not at the point that we're hearing about it." Finley said.

At this time last year, we were close to peak... So while the earlier the better, it's not too late to get a flu shot.

"We’ve had a lot of people get the vaccine, we've done double than what we anticipated we were going to do," Jackie Estes said, who is a pharmacist at Kinney Drugs.

Experts say even if you're young and healthy, getting vaccinated protects the entire community.

"It’s quick, it doesn't hurt, just a little pinch for a minute," Estes said.

Most pharmacies take walk-ins and charge about 30 bucks for the flu vaccine.

And, anyone between 2 and 49 can get the nasal spray version, if you'd prefer to avoid the needle. The typical peak for flu season is in February and March.



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