Pollen High & Flu Season

After a soggy Saturday, local forecasters say the weather is warming up in Tampa into the 80’s this week, but pollen levels remain on the high side in the Tampa Bay area, according to http://www.pollen.com. The predominant pollens are from juniper, oak and nettle.  On Monday,  Orlando, Daytona, West Palm Beach, Miami and Yuma, Arizona are ranked as the 5 worst pollen cities today, according to www. pollen.com.  Today’s best cities are Aberdeen, Fargo, Grand Forks, Duluth and Jamestown, ND.

Here are the pollen rankings for the next few days:

Monday: 9.1 (Medium High)

Tuesday: 9.2  (Medium High)

Wednesday:  11.8  (High)

Mismatched H3N2 flu viruses continue to predominate across the country, hitting older people hardest and then children 0-4 years old, according to the Centers for Disease Control.  Hospitalization rates are the highest recorded since 2005 for people 65 and older with the flu. Children 0-4 years have the second -highest hospitalization rate this season, the CDC said.

This year’s flu vaccine is showing 18 percent effectiveness compared to 23 percent protection estimated for the flu shot earlier this season.  Health officials say the nasal spray vaccine for children may not protect children at all and is 15 percent effective for children 2-8 years old.

“Studies can’t confirm the nasal vaccine has a benefit…These low numbers, which are lower than we normally see, are because the flu viruses that are circulating have mutated to look very different than the vaccine strains,” said Dr. Joseph Bresee, chief of the Epidemiology and Prevention Branch at CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases in an article on http://www.pollen.com.

Flu viruses are always changing and new strains appear every season which could run into late May.

“Most of the A (H3N2) viruses circulating this season are different from the H3N2 vaccine virus component,” CDC said about this year’s flu vaccine.

The Centers for Disease Control says as long as flu viruses are still circulating in the community, it’s not too late to get vaccinated.

Sources:  http://www.pollen.com Health News, http://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/season/flu-season-2014-2015.htm

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