Get Your Flu Shot

fluThe Tennessee Department of Health is urging all Tennesseans to increase their efforts to prevent flu and flu-related health threats by getting the flu shot and talking with their healthcare providers about flu-like symptoms. Since 2007 there have been 29 pediatric flu-related deaths recorded in Tennessee, including three in December of this year.
That is the highest number of pediatric flu deaths in the month of December since current reporting began in 2007. Prior to 2007 pediatric influenza deaths were not specifically required to be reported.
Those with flu-like symptoms should ask about the use of anti-viral medications such as oseltamivir (Tamiflu®) or zanamivir (Relenza®). According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, clinical benefits are greatest when antiviral treatment is administered early, ideally within 48 hours of symptoms starting. These antivirals may decrease the severity of flu but are not always advisable for every patient. The CDC also advises treatment with antivirals is recommended as soon as possible without waiting for confirmatory testing for those patients with confirmed or suspected influenza who have severe, complicated or progressive illness.
In some cases, he or she may provide antivirals before flu confirmation tests are complete, as a precautionary measure.”
Currently in Tennessee influenza-like illness activity is above CDC epidemic thresholds. The TDH has detected confirmed cases of influenza in 44 of 95 counties.
Even in years, like this one, when other strains not present in vaccine are circulating, flu vaccine is still the best protection available. Other key protective measures include hand washing, avoidance of touching your face, covering a cough or sneeze and staying home if you are sick to avoid exposing others.
For additional information about the 2014-2015 flu season, visit the CDC website at: