Judging by all the people sneezing and coughing on my flight last week, and the ubiquitous “Get your flu shot” signs at every pharmacy, it’s obvious we’ve begun the dreaded cold and flu season.
En español | With flu season about to start, health officials reassured Americans that the new, updated flu vaccine now available should do a better job than last year’s.
It's already a bad flu season for those age 65-plus and now there's more bad news: This season's flu shot will only cut your chances of getting sick by 23 percent, compared to the more typical 60 percent in previous years, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
It’s that season again. The one with lots of coughing, sneezing, sniffling, aching and carrying around large wads of tissues. So how do you protect yourself from colds and the flu, other than staying home from now through May?
Normally during flu season the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) lets us know the good and bad news, tracking how fast the flu is spreading, how severe it is and how well those flu shots are working. The information is especially important for figuring out next year's batch of vaccines.
A visit to the emergency room with my Mom yesterday reminded me that flu season is paying an early, and unwelcome, visit this year. Our hospital, along with so many across the nation, was crowded with those suffering from the flu. We wore masks, offered as we registered in the ER, the entire time we were there ... just in case.
We can think of an excuse to get out of anything we don't want to do - like getting a flu shot. Maybe you're one of those folks who rarely get sick so you scoff at the flu messages each year. Maybe you're plain scared. But the truth of the matter is, if you're over 65, you're playing with fire if you don't get the flu vaccine. This age group has the highest rates of influenza-related deaths and hospitalizations, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
September! Already! Of course, that means a sort of unofficial start of cold and flu season. The CDC recommends that we get vaccinated against flu starting in September because the flu can start to spread as early as October. What do you need to know to keep healthy? At the risk of sounding horribly mysophobic, let's talk about basic preventative measures from the CDC. You probably hear these things every year, but these actions should be almost reflexes. This kinda sounds a "Miss Manners" rant, but they do help in cutting down on transmission of the flu.
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