Oct 6, 2014 6:36 PM

Enterovirus serious but flu kills 25,000 Americans a year


CONCORD - There's been a lot of focus on Enterovirus D68. While there is a definite cause for concern, there's an annual health threat in New Hampshire here early this year. It's the flu virus, and the first confirmed case for the season was reported in September.

New Hampshire's Health and Human Services Epidemiologist Dr. Benjamin Chan said, "There is no specific vaccine for Enterovirus D68, but there is a vaccine for influenza. And if you get influenza there is also treatment for that virus, so we encourage anyone six months or older to get vaccinated for the flu."

According to the Centers for Disease Control, every year influenza kills about 25,000 people across the U.S.

In New Hampshire flu cases are tracked by calendar year. Last year 45 people died from flu related illness. In 2012 there were two deaths. In 2011 there were 19 deaths. So far this year, from early in the year, there have been 14 deaths.

"It can be a serious illness especially in children and the elderly, said Dr. Martin Boucher of Convenient MD Clinic."

For people who are afraid the flu vaccine will give them the flu, Dr. Boucher said, "That's false. the flu shot is a dead vaccine not a live vaccine. Our body is trying to make an immune response to the foreign object that was injected, so as your body does that sometimes you body will feel a little achy from that. Or you will feel a little achy or sore right where you got the shot at the muscle, but you are not getting the flu from that."

Because New Hampshire is a universal vaccination state, anyone 18 and under can get the flu shot for free. Some clinics, like the Convenient MD clinic, offer free flu shots for adults, too.

Flu season typically runs from September or October to Aril or May.

It takes about two weeks for the vaccination to take full effect in protecting you against the flu virus.


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