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The Oklahoma Health Department's Tony Sellars says that brings to six the total number of deaths in the state this flu season.

"Getting a flu shot is the best way to protect ourselves from the flu", said Health Commissioner Mark Levine, MD.

National Influenza Vaccination Week is scheduled during the first week of December to remind people the importance of continuing the flu vaccination through the holiday's season and beyond.

Pediatric deaths occur in people younger than 18.

According to a study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), vaccinations saved the lives of an estimated 732,000 American children and prevented 322 million cases of childhood illnesses from 1994 to 2014. Nurses can also get vaccinated themselves, and wear a badge advertising this; patients may feel reassured their trusted health care professional also gets vaccinated against the flu.

Last winter's flu season was a rough one, dominated by a particularly troublesome virus strain.

"It's not too late to get a flu shot", said Vonda Pruitt, director of nursing and social services for the Iroquois County Public Health Department.

National Influenza Vaccination Week Monmouth County encourages residents to get their vaccines
Free Flu Shots Offered in Hillsborough Until December 7

In 2008, New Jersey's Public Health Council issued a compulsory flu vaccination for all children before entering preschools and daycare centers. In Texas, they include 4-year-old Leon Robert Sidari, the son of two Air Force physicians, who died on Christmas Day.

Early rates of flu-like illnesses this season appear similar to those rates from previous year.

"There were no vaccines to protect against flu virus infection, no antiviral drugs to treat flu illness, and no antibiotics to treat secondary bacterial infections like pneumonia", the CDC said on its website. It may also eliminate the need to get a flu shot every year.

Flu is more than just a bad cold.

Of course, the flu shot isn't ideal - the CDC says its effectiveness varies, generally reducing your risk by 40 to 60 percent.

Seventy percent of Garden State seniors with a household income of $75,000 or more have received a flu shot versus 62 percent of those in households earning $35,000-$74,999, and 61 percent of those earning less than $35,000. I also share that there are many other precautions in stopping the spread of the flu and other illnesses, including good washing, cough etiquette, and staying home when you are sick.


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