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We all know how uncomfortable the flu can be. Body aches, chills, fever, cough, runny or stuffy nose, sore throat, fatigue and headaches. But did you know that seasonal influenza, or “the flu,” is a highly contagious infection predominantly attacking the nose, throat and lungs, causing mild to severe illness and sometimes causing serious complications and even death?
The holiday season is coming up, and with it comes gatherings with family and friends. To reduce the chances that you will get the flu and spread it to others, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everyone 6 months of age and older get an annual seasonal flu vaccine. Despite the recommendation, fewer than half of the eligible U.S. population received a flu vaccination during the 2014-2015 flu season.
Each year, more than 200,000 people are hospitalized for flu-related complications. The flu shot is especially important for people at higher risk due to certain health conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes, asthma or chronic lung disease. Other people particularly vulnerable to the flu are seniors aged 65 years or older, children younger than 5 years and pregnant women.
According to the CDC:
- On average 20,000 children younger than 5 years are hospitalized because of flu-related complications. Influenza causes more hospitalizations among young children than any other vaccine-preventable disease
- Between 50-70% of hospitalizations related to the flu occur in people 65+ and 80-90% of seasonal flu-related deaths occur in those 65+
- Even if you’re healthy, you’re still at risk at getting the flu. Immunocompromised individuals can potentially spread the flu for up to 7 days
Kim Tran, MS, PharmD, joined me to share tips on how you and your family can be better prepared for the upcoming flu season.
For more information on preparation and prevention, visit: whatsyourfluplan.com