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As flu season arrives, health experts stress the value and safety of vaccinations


1.gifSpeaking of seasonal illness, what's the weather forecast where you are?

2.gifCan you spot a listing or ad for flu shots? Tell what you find.

3.gifNow summarize other health or medical news from anywhere.

A nearly painless arm pinch can avoid a whole season of discomfort from the flu, an annoying illness that brings fever and can become serious. So health professionals urge just about everyone to protect themselves this time of year with a shot. "October is the ideal time to get vaccinated against the flu," says Dr. Patrice Harris, president of the American Medical Association. She mentions "overwhelming scientific evidence that shows vaccines are effective and safe."

There are a lot of myths around getting a flu shot, but the real danger is getting sick. Contrary to one mistaken belief, vaccines don't cause the illness because they have only trace amount of inactive or altered forms of the virus to help your body build up immunity. Studies show vaccination lowers risk of flu by up to 60 percent. Plus, if you do get sick, the shot generally reduces the severity of fever, chills and fatigue that can last days and sometimes require hospitalization.

People with asthma, a weakened immune system or certain other conditions have a higher risk of catching flu. Vaccines are updated each season to protect against the influenza viruses that research predicts will be most common. The 2019-20 vaccine has been updated from last year's to better match circulating viruses. Immunity from vaccination sets in after about two weeks. For those who really hate needles a lot, some doctors and pharmacies provide the vaccine through a nasal spray.

Medical leader says: "The flu vaccine a proven way to significantly reduce a child's risk of influenza-associated death." – Dr. Patrice Harris of Atlanta, American Medical Association president

Symptoms: Cough, stuffy or runny nose, sore throat, muscle and body aches, headache extreme tiredness.

Federal agency says: "Flu illness is more dangerous than the common cold for children. Each year, millions of children get sick with seasonal flu; thousands of children are hospitalized." – Centers for Disease Control

Front Page Talking Points is written by Alan Stamm for, Copyright 2020
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