The extra benefits of yearly flu shots

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The extra benefits of yearly flu shots

Flu season is underway, and experts say it's only going to get worse.

Since the start of flu season, medical assistant LaCrisha White has given dozens of flu shots, but she always makes sure that she's one of the first to get one.

"To me, I always say I can't afford to be sick," she said.

California is one of three states reporting a flurry of regional flu activity.

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health reported it's on the rise.

Glendale Memorial Hospital's Dr. Douglas Webber said the virus is already proving to be deadly.

"There has been 30 cases in California this year of individuals who have died from influenza since Sept. 30," he said.

Webber reminds us that flu symptoms such as fever, headache, body aches and fatigue can make you sick for weeks, and it's a gateway virus to other serious illnesses.

"Once you have the flu, then it makes you more susceptible to bacterial infections such as pneumococcal pneumonia, streptococcus, etc," Webber said.

Health officials say the most common strain being seen this season is Influenza A-H1N1. It's also one of the strains in this year's flu shot.

"It's the best prevention that we have, and if it doesn't, frankly, prevent the disease, we do believe it does lessen the disease," Webber said. "I encourage patients to get immunized as soon as possible. Most facilities and pharmacies are still immunizing."

Webber said the latest research shows there's also another big advantage to being consistent in getting the flu vaccine every year.

"If individuals are pretty religious on an annual basis of getting the flu vaccine, we realize their immunity over time builds up," he said.

It's great news for White, who makes sure that she and her children are vaccinated regularly.

And she takes another important precaution.

"Handwashing is a must," White said. "Not just here at work but also at home."
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