BEACON TRANSCRIPT – Flu season has started slowly but surely this year as both doctors and public health officials are advocating for the public’s inoculation. Doctors are warning that, despite flu season having a slower start this year, it is necessary that the public now take a proactive attitude towards combating the illness by getting themselves vaccinated.
Although for now the overall activity of the influenza is sporadic, officials are warning people that flu season has definitely come, as they have already recorded this year’s first casualty because of the infectious virus in Santa Clara County.
Doctors have already started recording this year’s first cases of influenza. The numbers recorded until now are, by comparison, fewer than the ones the U.S. has seen in recent years as the Center for Disease Control and Prevention has reported earlier this month that cases of infection have so far remained low across the country.
According to doctor Charles Fenzi, who is currently consulting patients at the Santa Barbara Neighborhood Clinics and has already had three patients testing positive with the influenza this year, it is important that people get vaccinated.
Dr. Fenzi himself gets inoculated every year and recommends either of the two existing types of vaccines to his patients. There is also a nasal spray that can be used for inoculation, but it is mostly recommended for people with healthy immune systems.
For patients suffering from pre-existing conditions such as asthma, heart disease, or any chronic disease for that matter, as well as for people who have a compromised immune system for whatever reason, the vaccine remains the best option for inoculation. The CDC recommends the vaccine as well, as it is a safe option for all the patients that are 6 months or older.
Flu season can span from October all the way to April and the number of cases of infection usually peaks at the beginning of the year, according to Fenzi.
There are two types of vaccine on offer this year: one that protects against three strains of the virus, known as the trivalent vaccine, and one that covers four strains of the virus, called the quadrivalent vaccine.
It is possible, according to specialists, to become infected with the virus despite vaccination, depending on whether the strain on the virus which you are exposed to is covered by the vaccine you have taken or not. People are also exposed to infection within two weeks of becoming inoculated as that is the amount of time it takes for the vaccine to protect the organism.
People wishing to get inoculated can resort to a vaccine locator as well as to many pharmacies that offer vaccination to walk-in patients.
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