Northstate health officials awaiting flu outbreak

Northstate health officials awaiting flu outbreak

REDDING, Calif. Flu season is getting worse, and health officials say the outbreak could peak this month.

That is what the Centers for Disease Control is reporting in much of the country. The flu is widespread in 43 states and flu activity is listed as ‘intense’ in most of them. Six children have died this week, bringing the total number of pediatric deaths to 21 cheap jerseys this flu season.

“The staff in the [Shasta Community Health Center] will say that they really haven’t seen much flu going around yet, and they’re being told to expect it later,” said Lim’s Family Pharmacy owner Ron Lim.

His business operates out of the health center building. Lim said free or cheap flu vaccines, offered at many large chain stores, are vital to the flu fight. He said it is playing a bigger factor than people realize.

“For the price of having to see a doctor, I think more people are getting the shots than ever before.”

Lim said it is a guessing game whether or not the vaccine contains the correct strain of the virus. Experts warn of a mismatch. Vaccines typically protect against three to four flu viruses, including this year’s outbreak of the influenza A H3N2 virus. However, a CDC spokesperson said one of the flu viruses mutated, becoming a more severe strain.

Pharmacy supervisors at Owens Pharmacy in Redding said CDC officials are predicting only a 33 percent success rate from the vaccine, down from a normal 50 percent rate.

But Lim is seeing positive signs. Boxes of prescription Tamiflu, used to treat flu symptoms, are staying on his shelves.

“I ordered all of these last January a year ago and zero use,” Lim said as he showed his full stock. “I haven’t sold one box all year.”

He is crediting the clinic for being cautious and telling patients to take healthy steps for prevention.

“They are recommending good hygiene washing your hands and staying away from people that are sick,” Lim said. “Especially, if you’re sick, don’t go to work.”

Lim said Shasta Community Health officials are looking for outbreaks to pop up sometime around February and March this year.

Even though the vaccine is somewhat mismatched this year, health officials say you should still get the flu shot. They say it will still reduce your risk and give you some protection.

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