Fact #1: Lots of people get the flu
Fact 2: Not enough people get the flu shot
Fact 3: The flu shot helps sometimes
Because of fact #3, this is the year to definitely not gamble on whether or not to get the flu shot, because this year is already shaping up to the be the year of the flu.
As of this writing, the CDC is saying the cases of the flu are already twice that of last year at the same time.
So how does that number break down? Glad you asked.
- In Arizona alone, the cases are 758% higher than last year.
- As of Dec. 20: Last year there were over 7,000 flu cases reported, nationwide, from the beginning of flu season 2017, which is double that of the same time frame in 2016
- Areas most effected, so far Georgia, Louisiana, Massachusetts and Oklahoma. (So far, Iowa and Illinois haven’t been hit as hard. Sorry Missouri, you are designated as “widespread”)
The strain this year is called H3N2, which according to the CDC:
“Those strains hit hardest among the very young and very old”
Oh…and by the way, the flu shot is only 10% effective against this strain. But according to Martin Hirsch, an infectious disease physician at Massachusetts General Hospital:
“Even if the vaccine is only 10 percent effective against H3N2, the vaccine does protect against other strains that are circulating,” he said. “The most important thing is still to get your flu vaccine…flu vaccines are usually only about 40 percent to 60 percent effective in the best of years”
Keep in mind, a lot of people don’t get the flu shot because they think it is supposed to prevent the influenza infection. In fact, it is merely a first line of defense, which is supposed to help build up your immune system.
If you want to hedge your bets against getting the flu, make sure you are doing the following:
- Get the flu shot (most insurance will cover with no, or low, out of pocket expense.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue or into the arm/sleeve of your shirt and NOT into your hand. (If you use your hand, everything you touch then has the potential of infection for you, or another person.)
- Wash you hands often with hot water and soap. (Just water won’t cut it)
- Stay home if you are sick. (Think about it, if you infect everyone in the office, you are going to be working to pick up the slack for everyone else, when everyone else is out sick with the disease you gave them.)
Here’s to good health.