Flu Season Could Be Severe
Health officials are once again urging people to get a flu shot. This year, the vaccines contain protection against two new strains of the virus that have been detected, according to the Detroit Free Press.
Flu cases fluctuate
The severity of the flu season always fluctuates. In fact, scientists have a hard time predicting which strains will likely infect people each year.
Howard Koh, assistant secretary for health at the Department of Health and Human Services, who spoke at a news conference in Washington organized by the National Foundation for Infectious Disease said.
“In 2009-2010, we had a pandemic with thousands hospitalized and many deaths,” Koh said. “Last year, we set a record for the lowest number of hospitalizations and the shortest influenza season.”
Everyone advised to the flu shots
Despite the H1N1 scare a few years ago, many Americans skip the flu shot. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, forty-two percent of Americans got a flu shot last year, about the same rate as the year before.
While last year was a mild flu season, 34 children died, according to the CDC.
“Even mild seasons can lead to suffering and death,” said Koh, who was vaccinated at the news conference. “People cannot become complacent this season. When it comes to the flu, we cannot look to the past to predict what will happen this season.”
Vaccination rates decline with age. According to statistics, babies have the highest vaccination rate, hovering around 75 percent. Just 39 percent of adults get vaccinated and 34 percent of teens. About 47 percent of pregnant women got the shot last year, a far cry from the CDC goal of getting 80 percent of pregnant women vaccinated.
Flu shots are said to decrease the chances of getting sick by about 50 to 60 percent.
Will you get a flu shot this year? Why or why not? Tell us below.