In fact, influenza vaccination offers substantial protection against the flu this season, federal health authorities said. A recent report shows that getting a flu shot reduced a person’s risk – across all age groups – of having to go to the doctor for flu by about 60 percent.
This flu season has been particularly hard on younger- and middle-age adults, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. More than 60 percent of all hospitalizations from influenza were for people between the ages of 18 and 64.
It’s a change from the previous three flu seasons when this particular age group represented only about 35 percent of all flu-related hospitalizations. Deaths from influenza followed the same pattern, according to the CDC. More deaths than usual occurred in this younger age group, a CDC news release states.
“Flu hospitalizations and deaths in people younger- and middle-aged adults is a sad and difficult reminder that flu can be serious for anyone, not just the very young and old; and that everyone should be vaccinated,” said CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden. “The good news is that this season’s vaccine is doing its job, protecting people across all age groups.”
Flu season is likely to continue for a number of weeks – especially in states where activity started later in the season.
“Younger people may feel that influenza is not a threat to them, but this season underscores that flu can be a serious disease for anyone,” Frieden said. “It’s important that everyone get vaccinated. It’s also important to remember that some people who get vaccinated may still get sick, and we need to use our second line of defense against flu: antiviral drugs to treat flu illness. People at high risk of complications should seek treatment if they get a flu-like illness. Their doctors may prescribe antiviral drugs if it looks like they have influenza.”
People at high risk for flu complications include:
- pregnant women,
- people with asthma, diabetes or heart disease,
- people who are morbidly obese and
- people older than 65 or children younger than 5 years, but especially those younger than 2 years.
Source: CDC news release
+ Do you need a flu shot? Use the Bon Secours Hampton Roads online tool to find a family practice physician.
+ Learn more about protecting yourself and your family from the flu.