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In rough US flu season for kids, vaccine working OK so far

For kids, the flu vaccine has been more than 50% effective in preventing flu illness severe enough to send someone to the doctor's office.

NEW YORK — It may be a bad flu season for kids, but early signs suggest the flu vaccine is working OK.

For kids, the flu vaccine has been more than 50% effective in preventing flu illness severe enough to send someone to the doctor's office. 

Experts say that's considered pretty good for a flu vaccine.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released the estimates Thursday. The vaccines are made each year to protect against three or four different kinds of flu viruses.

The ingredients are based on predictions of what strains will make people sick the following winter.

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The CDC said children should be vaccinated every flu season for the best protection against the flu.

For children who will need two doses of flu vaccine, the first dose should be given as early in the season as possible. For other children, it is good practice to get them vaccinated by the end of October. However, there's still time to get vaccinated later in the season, as long as flu viruses are circulating.

Most people with the flu have mild illness and do not need medical care or antiviral drugs. If someone gets sick with flu symptoms, in most cases, they should stay home and avoid contact with other people except to get medical care.

However, serious outcomes of flu infection can result in hospitalization or death. Some people, such as older people, young children, and people with certain health conditions, are at high risk of serious flu complications.

The CDC said "Take 3" actions to fight the flu:

  1. Get the flu vaccine
  2. Take everyday preventive actions to stop the spread of germs
  3. Take flu antiviral drugs if your doctor prescribes them

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A wide share of Americans are at least moderately confident in United States health officials’ ability to handle emerging viruses. That's according to a poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.

The poll also finds that more Americans express some concern about catching the flu than catching the new coronavirus. The findings are encouraging to health experts who want people to get their flu shots while also staying informed about efforts to contain the new virus.

Thousands of Americans die from the flu every year, far overshadowing the small number of cases of the new virus in the United States.