Doctors urge people to get flu vaccine following last year's deadly season

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Doctors remind people the flu shot is the best defense against the disease.

It's about that time to get a flu shot.

Flu season generally runs from October to March.

But according to Doctor Jenny Lu, an emergency medicine attending physician at Stroger Hospital, it's never too late to get a flu shot.

"It takes a couple of weeks for your body to develop antibodies after getting the shot," said Lu.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates an 80-thousand Americans died of the flu and its complications last winter.

That's the disease's highest death toll in at least four decades.

Many people avoid getting a flu shot because they don't think it works all that well.

The CDC estimates the vaccine was only about 40 percent effective at preventing the flu. That's about the same as the season before.

However, doctors say the flu shot is still the best defense against the disease.

"The vaccine is one of the most important things you can do to prevent or decrease the severity of symptoms from the flu," said Lu.

The CDC says last year's vaccine averted an estimated 5.3 million cases of the flu.

"While it may not prevent the flu 100 percent of the time depending on the strains of the virus that are out there, it is much more effective than no protection at all and especially in those people who may be vulnerable to it," Lu said.

Officials recommend everyone six months or older get vaccinated every season by the end of October.

"As it is difficult to predict what the flu will look like this year, we encourage everyone to protect themselves and to protect their loved ones who may not be able to get themselves the flu shot," Lu said.
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