Experts: Flu shot works, but concerns remain

Published: Jan. 7, 2019 at 6:19 PM EST
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This year's influenza season is ramping up. According to the Centers for Disease Control, it's showing up in every state in the country.

"We have definitely seen an increase in positive flu tests in the past three to four weeks," said family nurse practitioner, Katherine Besola.

Besola said there is good news when it comes to the vaccine against this year's two most popular flu strains, H1N1, and the less prevalent H3N2.

"Our flu vaccines are more effective this year it seems, compared to last year," she said.

Besola said experts don't usually predict the strain correctly, but this year the vaccine and the strains are a match, which means those who got the flu shot are likely protected.

"The people who have come in and have tested positive for the flu and who've had their flu shots, their cases and symptoms have been much more mild than those who have not had the flu shot," said Besola.

These are just the first reports from the last week of 2018. We are still on the front end of flu season. Even though it's good news for now, Besola has reminded patients that the flu virus can change.

"They're smart little bugs. Over time they find ways to overcome how we treat them."

Besola said those who caught the flu are most contagious in the first three to four days. The best way to protect against the flu is hand washing and getting the vaccine.

"No one is completely immune from it, it's always possible but the best thing you can do is get the flu shot to protect yourself and those around you," said Besola.