Year after year, health officials warn the public about the dangers of influenza at the start of the flu season. And year after year, people underestimate their likelihood of developing the flu and put off the chore of getting vaccinated. This year, this disregard is proving to be not only irresponsible, but also downright dangerous. In the past few weeks, hundreds of people have been sent to intensive care units, and in some cases, have lost their lives as a result of the flu. The chief strain of influenza this season is H1N1. That’s right—the very same strain of influenza that, in 2009, garnered media attention and sparked public panic for claiming numerous lives.
Typically, older individuals are more vulnerable to most strains of the flu; however, H1N1 may pose a greater risk to kids and young adults. Tragically, the Center for Disease Control reports that 10 children have already died from influenza this season, and more than 26,000 have been hospitalized. The CDC recommends getting vaccinated as the best method of prevention from developing the flu. Last year, the flu vaccine prevented 6.6 million cases of the flu and kept nearly 80,000 people out of the hospital. As H1N1 is a more severe virus than we typically see during flu season, it is particularly important that people get vaccinated as soon as they can this season.
If you haven’t been vaccinated yet, don’t worry—but don’t delay, either. Flu season peaks in January or February (and you’re still at risk for developing the virus as late as May), and it takes about two weeks after getting the vaccine for the antibodies to develop and provide protection against the flu.
Don’t hesitate any longer; visit the YourTown Heatlh in your community today, or give us a call at (770) 463-4644. We’re happy to answer any questions or concerns you may have about the influenza virus or the vaccination process.