AHA: Flu Season Can Send More Heart Failure Patients to Hospital

Share on Pinterest Last year’s flu season led to nearly a million people being hospitalized in the U.S. Getty Images

Share on Pinterest Last year’s flu season led to nearly a million people being hospitalized in the U.S. Getty Images

The Oklahoma Department of Health said Thursday that both victims were 65 years of age or older and were residents of northeastern Oklahoma.

Public health officials say a 50-year-old north Idaho woman died recently due to influenza, the first reported flu-related death in the state this season. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend shots for everyone over the age of six months. It is estimated that flu vaccination prevents millions of flu illnesses and tens of thousands of hospitalizations. The flu vaccine is a safe and effective means of protecting yourself and your family.

"I think some parents feel like that's an easier way to get the flu vaccine", Dr. Bhargava says. "Plus you are limited to what vaccine is offered: standard and high-dose and it is only 20-30 percent effective and yet some people still choose it". Every flu season, there are predominant strains of the virus, so medical experts predict which strains will be most active, and they formulate the vaccines in response. Even healthy people can become sick enough to miss work or school for a significant amount of time, or even be hospitalized. The cost is $10.00 per shot for adults and children.

Ott says influenza is very contagious and can spread quickly and easily, one can pass on the flu to others 48 hours before experiencing symptoms. There are more flu shot clinics planned in the spring semester.

The influenza vaccine does not guarantee protection against the flu but it does lower the chances in contracting it. People should take additional precautions to lower their risk, including those who received the vaccine.

"Some physicians might prefer the injectable vaccine - in fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends it - but in general, patient preference and vaccine availability drive the process", explains Dr. Amesh A. Adalja, a board certified infectious disease physician and a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security. Washing your hands frequently, containing your coughs and sneezes when in public and avoiding crowds during flu peak season are all good suggestions.

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