Flu Season Is Coming. Here’s What You Need To Know

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Evie Fordham Politics and Health Care Reporter
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Doctors are encouraging U.S. adults and children over six months old to get vaccinated against the flu after more Americans died from the virus and related causes during the 2017-2018 season than any season in the past 40 years that total deaths have been recorded.

Roughly 80,000 Americans died of flu and flu complications last winter, reported CNN. A mild flu season is expected to bring roughly 12,000 deaths, reported Fortune.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said this season’s vaccines “have been updated to better match circulating viruses” after blaming a weak flu vaccine for the spike in deaths. The 2017-2018 vaccine was only 40 percent effective, reported CNN.

Doctors recommend that everyone — especially pregnant women, children and the elderly — get flu shots by October’s end, reported CNN. Peak flu season is typically November to March, although flu activity has been known to last into May, according to the CDC.

The CDC especially wants parents to vaccinate their children after 180 children died in the 2017-2018 flu season, reported NBC.

“The majority of them were unvaccinated,” Surgeon General Jerome Adams said, according to NBC. “It’s healthy kids out there that are dying from the flu.”

The CDC also hammered doctors for being stingy when prescribing flu medication. A shortage of the generic drug Tamil also contributed to the particularly lethal flu season, according to Fox 8. (RELATED: StudySeniors Should Think Twice Before Reaching For The Aspirin Bottle)

“The one thing we learned last year that the CDC really came out on us for is that we weren’t giving enough medications to fight influenza,” Dr. Frank Esper of the Cleveland Clinic told Fox 8. “We were like, ‘Oh you got flu, oh well, just tough it out.’ We were holding back on giving Tamiflu to individuals.”

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