Health officials working to make flu shot more effective

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"Flu vaccination can help keep you from getting sick, missing work or school, and prevent flu-related hospitalization and death", said Sietske de Fijter, State Epidemiologist and Chief, Bureau of Infectious Diseases.

"Don't wait until everybody is sick to get your flu shot", she said.

Flu activity usually begins to increase in October and can last as late as May.

That's why the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issues its annual recommendations on the flu vaccine. In the past, the virus has hung around as late as May.

Adams said that getting the flu shot by the end of October is not just about keeping yourself safe and healthy, it's also about community. But the vaccine has been tweaked to better match circulating strains, including getting an updated H3N2 component.

Meanwhile, Islanders aged 65 and over - an age group that is more likely to suffer complications from flu, resulting in hospitalisation - will be eligible for an "adjudvanted" vaccine for the first time.

In previous seasons, flu-related deaths have ranged from a low of about 12,000 during the 2011-2012 season to a high of about 56,000 during the 2012-2013.

Video shows tsunami hitting Indonesian city after 7.5-magnitude quake
Communications with the area are hard because power and telecommunications are cut, hampering search and rescue efforts. The tsunami was caused by a 7.5 magnitude natural disaster which hit just off central Sulawesi last night.

Although the vaccine can be imperfect, it is the best defense we have as we continue to make advancements in the field.

At every trimester, the flu vaccine is safe and effective for both pregnant women and their fetuses, plus it protects babies after they are born, preventing flu in the first six months of their lives when they are too young to get their own flu shot, she said. "This is important because typically older adults" immune systems become weaker as they age, so they need a turbo-boosted vaccine to protect them'.

"There's a little bit of controversy now in the medical literature", Ashton said. In the US, peak flu season months are typically November through March.

Some studies have shown that the protective antibodies produced in response to the vaccine can decrease over time.

Miller County Health officials made tackling the flu season a lot easier Wednesday with a drive-by flu clinic.

As of September 9, Australia is experiencing a mild flu season with person-to-person transmission of flu-like illness "increasing slowly" since July, according to that nation's most recent surveillance report.

Amisha Ahuja is an internal medicine resident at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital and a contributor to the ABC News Medical Unit.

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