Oklahomans have died as flu season continues across the country

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Tennessee's county health departments are holding special "FightFluTN" events across the state today, December 5, to provide flu shots at no charge to increase the number of people vaccinated in Tennessee.

This week is National Influenza Vaccination Week and the Florida Department of Health in Hillsborough is offering free flu shots at the Sulphur Springs Health Center.

Today wraps up National Influenza Vaccination Week, and health officials are encouraging Kentuckians who opt to get those vaccines to do it before the peak of flu season in February. Of the 180 pediatric deaths reported in the US last season, 80 percent occurred in children who had not had a flu shot. Leon was scheduled to get his flu shot soon. Jennifer Femino, FNP-BC, Family Nurse Practitioner/Director of Quality Improvement at North Shore Community Health and member of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP), explains why and how you can help your community prepare for flu season. At an unusual meeting last month in Nashville, leading flu researchers met to discuss the obstacles to making a "universal" flu vaccine that works against the majority of strains that infect humans and lasts for years, if not a lifetime. It may also eliminate the need to get a flu shot every year.

That is because today's flu shots do not contain a live virus, which means, the vaccine itself simply can not get you sick. Among children, effectiveness rates were higher: Children who got the shot were 59% seek medical care for the virus, the CDC reported this year. The child was not vaccinated for the current flu season.

"We know that past year there were 183 influenza deaths in children, three of which were in MS", said MSDH Interim State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs.

The most common symptoms of the flu include a fever, cough, and sore throat, but they can also include body aches, headache, chills, runny nose, and fatigue, according to the DPH website.

A flu shot is especially crucial for people who may be at higher risk for serious complications. That's why it's also important to practice common-sense measures to slow the spread of the flu and other illnesses, such as covering your mouth/nose when you cough or sneeze, and washing your hands frequently.

Though the vaccine is imperfect, it lessens the severity and duration of symptoms, and those who get flu after receiving a vaccine are less likely to require hospitalization and less likely to die.