Flu Is Spreading Fast This Season: Officials

This year's flu season is expected to be bad, after word that the vaccine may not be as effective as years past, but you still want to get a shot.

(Published Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017)

This year’s flu season is off to a fast start and early indications suggest that it may be more severe than the previous season, NBC News reported.

Widespread flu activity is currently in four states where last year there were none at this time, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And Dr. William Schaffner, who is involved in the CDC’s flu surveillance network in Tennessee, has noticed cases of influenza picking up "dramatically" in the last week.

The Texas Thunder Truck captured the immediate aftermath of a rollover crash on westbound Interstate 30 in Fort Worth while live on air Tuesday morning. Witnesses told NBC 5 Reporter Larry Collins that one person had minor injuries. It's not clear what caused the crash, though roads were very slick due to a heavy downpour at the time of the incident.

(Published Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2018)

Even worse, it appears the dominant strain will be H3N2, which can produce more severe illness, said Schaffner, an infectious disease specialist at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

Unfortunately, the flu vaccine available in the United States this year was only 10 percent effective in preventing illness from H3N2. However, while vaccinated people can still get sick, generally they get a milder and less dangerous form of the illness. Also, the vaccine protects against other flu strains.

Dr. Jeremy Rowell at Medical City Arlington says they've already seen severe cases of the flu, mainly in elderly people.

It's why he and others advise to not dismiss the flu shot.

Two men in Houston are banned from a local gun range for life after they tried to take a selfie, with one of the men holding a gun to his buddy's head. Video courtesy of Top Gun Range.

(Published Thursday, Oct. 11, 2018)

The vaccination can help lessen the severity of the illness, which is important for children and people over the age of 50 with underlying health conditions, as these populations are more likely to suffer from flu complications like pneumonia.

"They don't have the reserves like we do to help, support their system when that happens. That is why we encourage those populations to get the vaccination," says Dr. Rowell.