Normally it's those 65 and older who get hit hardest by the flu, but this flu season has been particularly deadly for young and middle-aged adults, causing many more deaths and dramatically higher hospitalization rates than the previous three seasons.
Science is once more reminding us that there are predators stalking the land no larger than a speck of dust but with the killing power of a herd of hippos. They are so small you can't see them but you only have about a 50-50 chance of surviving their attack. They are called bacteria and the sepsis or blood poisoning they engender is killing 250,000 Americans a year. I was almost one of them.
It's hard to find a more stunning statistic: Nearly 45 percent of hospitalizations among nursing home residents enrolled in Medicare or Medicaid are avoidable. Because of their complex and chronic health care needs, annual spending for their care is more than $300 billion. The total 2011 costs for avoidable hospitalizations for this group are $7 billion to $8 billion.
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