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Doctors say this season's flu vaccine 'less effective' amid outbreak

Posted at 4:58 PM, Jan 08, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-08 18:09:35-05

Doctors say they may know the cause of this year's flu outbreak amid an outbreak that's covered much of the country, including Wisconsin. 

They say this year’s vaccine is less effective, but experts say that still shouldn’t stop you from protecting yourself.

Dr. Lyn Ranta, a pediatrician with Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, says this recent outbreak is a good reminder for everyone to get a flu shot.

“We are in the middle of a large outbreak of influenza, it’s very widespread, particularly here in Wisconsin and our neighboring states,” she said.

It’s currently peak flu season and unfortunately, this year’s strain has swamped medical professionals all across the country.

“Everybody is very busy, the emergency rooms, the urgent cares as well as our primary care clinics and other things,” Ranta said.

This outbreak has affected 36 states across the country.

“The vaccine is less effective based on studies that have come to us from the season that proceeded us in Australia,” she said.

Experts say this particular strain makes people sicker and it’s very contagious. Already this season there’s been 12 pediatric deaths across the country caused by the flu, which is higher than the total from last year.

“Make sure you take care of yourself if you’re ill,” Ranta said.

Even though this year's vaccine may not be doing a great job when it comes to prevention,  Ranta still recommends getting a flu shot, she says it’s better than not getting treated at all.

“Definitely now would be the time since this is probably going to be our peak of activity here in the Milwaukee area for the next several weeks,” Ranta said.

Some simple reminders to prevent illness include washing your hands well and using hand sanitizer.

If you’re feeling ill you should stay home and not got to work or school to affect those around you. Also, it’s not too late to get the flu shot.