Flu vaccine gets bad wrap, but experts say studies could be flawed

Dr. Thomas Frieden director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention receives a flu shot

AP Dr. Thomas Frieden director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention receives a flu shot

Heather Chamberlin got the flu vaccine during October just like she does every year. CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommends that live attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV), also known as the "nasal spray" flu vaccine, should not be used during the 2017-2018 flu season.

The Arkansas Department of Health said as of the end of November there have been close to 200 confirmed cases of the flu since October. This after the vaccine wouldn't work on several strains of flu in South America. But the Southern Hemisphere experienced an especially bad season over the summer (their winter), with Australia reporting record-high numbers of influenza cases and a higher-than-average number of hospitalizations and deaths.

In an effort to encourage people to get a flu shot this season, Camp Hill, Pa. -based Rite Aid is teaming with Dr. Jennifer Caudle, a nationally renowned health expert and practicing family physician, during National Influenza Vaccination Week. Last year's vaccine was 42 percent effective.

"I don't want to risk getting it myself because as far as what I've seen them go through it's a pretty bad deal and I don't want to feel like that, let alone bring it home to my kids or my family", Chamberlin said.

In the United States, widespread cases are being reported in Georgia, Louisiana, Oklahoma and MA.

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But that doesn't mean you shouldn't go out and get your flu vaccine, Hirsch cautions.

Other important habits that will help keep the disease from spreading is to wash your hands frequently and avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.

Cover - Cover your cough or sneeze with your arm or a disposable tissue.

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