The influenza epidemic started early this year and could last through May. We have no idea when the flu season will officially peak, but based on past experience, it’s likely that flu activity will continue for some time. It is not too late to get your flu shot.
This year’s flu vaccine is 62 percent effective, according to government study results released last week, which is pretty good for a flu vaccine. The CDC recommends that people get vaccinated against influenza as long as influenza viruses are circulating. It takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body that provide protection against the flu.
Even if you have already experienced flu-like symptoms, but have not been vaccinated this year, you should still get a flu shot. It’s possible that your illness was not caused by an influenza virus. There are other respiratory viruses circulating along with flu that can have similar flu symptoms. The only way to know for sure that a flu virus is making you sick is to have a sample taken and tested in a laboratory. Furthermore, even if you were sick with one influenza virus, the seasonal flu vaccine protects against three types of flu viruses that research suggests will be most common. This means the vaccine can offer protection against other influenza viruses you haven’t been exposed to yet.
Everyone who is at least 6 months of age should get a flu vaccine this season. It’s especially important for some people to get vaccinated. Those people include the following:
- People who are at high risk of developing serious complications like pneumonia if they get sick with the flu
- This includes
- People who have certain medical conditions including asthma, diabetes, and chronic lung disease.
- Pregnant women.
- People 65 years and older.
- This includes
- People who live with or care for others who are high risk of developing serious complications
- This includes household contacts and caregivers of people with certain medical conditions including asthma, diabetes, and chronic lung disease.
The number of deaths associated with influenza and pneumonia spiked this past week from 8.3 percent to 9.8 percent. The death rate continues to be above the epidemic threshold of 7.3 percent. The number of hospitalizations due to confirmed influenza increased from 18.8 to 22.2 per 100,00 hospitalizations. About half of these hospitalizations were among people who were 65 years old or older. Don’t wait. Get your flu shot today.
To schedule an appointment to get your flu shot contact MediNurse, visit us at www.medinurse.com or call 314.781.2800.