Unlike last flu season, this year’s has been relatively calm so far with only a few cases reported. But the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) don’t want you to be laxed—they urge you to get vaccinated now before the crux of the season starts.
“It feels a bit unusual because the last three years were early years, but this is sort of typical. The majority of flu seasons peak in February… [so] it’s a great time to go out and get vaccinated if you haven’t yet,” Lynnette Brammer, an epidemiologist in the influenza division at the CDC told HealthDay News.
The CDC also pointed out that in a few weeks, folks could see an uptick of cases. They recommend that most people over the age of 6 months should get vaccinated yearly with a shot and people between the ages 2-49 with the nasal spray version, especially
- Pregnant women
- Mothers with newborns
- Those with compromised immune systems such as HIV/AIDS
Hopefully this season, this year’s batch of vaccines are more effective than last year’s batch. Remember reports that only 23 percent of flu vaccines actually protected people against the virus?
They better be, because the flu is not a game.
It is a serious viral infection that in some cases can cause severe conditions such as pneumonia, bronchitis, and sinus and ear infections. The flu can also make your current chronic health problems, such as asthma, diabetes and heart issues, even worse. Most importantly, the flu can even kill, killing 128 babies and children in the 2014-2015 flu season, notes the CDC.
African-Americans (seniors, adults and children) continue to have some of the lowest flu vaccination rates in the U.S. Lack of access to quality health care and poverty play a role, but so does cultural mistrust. A 2015 study found that Blacks were more likely to believe that the vaccine didn’t really work compared to whites and Asian-Americans.
In addition to getting vaccinated, other ways to prevent getting the flu include frequently washing your hands with soap and water, avoiding contact with sick people if possible, covering your mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing and disinfecting counters and surfaces in your home and at work.