Flu season expected to be worse than last year, experts say

LOS ANGELES -- Experts say this flu season may be more critical than the last and are recommending that those eligible for the shot, roll up their sleeve.

A really bad flu season can cripple an emergency department.

"We pretty much come to a standstill.. there are so many people that are sick," said registered nurse Elizabeth Zhorne. "They continue to pour in because they just don't feel well.

Hospital employees like Zhorne know first-hand how sick people get this time of year, and say it's mandatory for healthcare workers to get the flu shot.

So far, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said this year's vaccine appears to be a good match for the viruses circulating.

"The influenza is not mutating as fast as last year and so it seems to be highly effective," said Dr. Daniel Kijner from the Providence Holy Cross Medical Center.

A new study finds most children and adults hospitalized with flu-related pneumonia did not get the flu vaccine. Now, researchers say 57 percent of those hospitalizations could have been prevented with a flu shot.

"Your body develops anti-bodies against the virus so that you never contract the disease," said Kijner.

The vaccine is recommended for almost everyone, and the list of those who shouldn't get it is pretty short: Babies under six months, people with severe allergies against ingredients in the vaccine and those with a history of Guillain-Barre syndrome.

After the shot, it takes two weeks for your body to develop flu anti-bodies.

Zhorne is glad she got her shot right away.

"I feel a little more protected because there are so many people that are ill," she said. "I would advise anyone to go out and get a flu shot."

Flu season officially started in October and can last until March.

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