People Are Already Dying From the Flu. Here's What You Need to Know About Flu Season 2017

From the symptoms of the flu to the effectiveness of the vaccine

The early days of the 2017 flu season have already claimed lives. An elderly man from Iowa died from the flu recently, marking the state’s first official flu death of the season, the Des Moines Register reports. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that a child died of the flu in October in the first flu-related pediatric death of the season.

Flu season will continue for the next several months, affecting children and the elderly in particular. Here’s what to know about flu season 2017.

When is flu season 2017?

While seasonal flu viruses can affect you throughout the year, flu season 2017 starts in October and November and can last until May, according to the CDC. In the U.S., flu season peaks between December and February.

Can the flu kill you?

If the flu is not prevented by the flu shot or left untreated with antiviral drugs, the flu can lead further complications, such as pneumonia or even death. People ages 65 and older are at an increased risk of getting seriously ill from the flu and dying, according to the CDC.

What is the flu shot effectiveness?

Getting a flu shot is the best way to avoid the infection during flu season, according to the CDC. The flu shot is most effective if received before the infection spreads across the community, so getting one early is key. Once you receive the flu vaccine, it takes about two weeks for antibodies to develop that protect the body from the flu virus. The flu vaccine is updated each year to take on the constantly changing viruses in circulation.

According to the CDC, the flu vaccine reduces the risk of flu infection by 40% to 60%. The flu shot’s effectiveness varies from person to person depending on age, general health and how the vaccine itself is designed to combat the circulating viruses.

What are some common flu symptoms?

The flu tends to affect a person’s respiratory tract. As the immune system fights the infection from the flu, the body's airway passages can become inflamed, causing coughs, sore throats and runny or stuffy noses, the CDC says. Fever and body pains are also common symptoms.

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