Not too late for flu shot

If you managed to get into the new year without suffering through a case of influenza, even though you haven’t been vaccinated against the virus, congratulations.

Now, go get that shot. The most dangerous part of the flu season lies ahead.

Flu activity began tracking upward in mid-December and will peak later this month, according to New york state Department of Health analysts. Already, New York is one of 24 states where the flu is considered widespread.

According to the Center for Disease Control, it’s too soon to make any assessment about this season’s severity, however since this H1N1 virus emerged in 2009, it has been associated with significant illness and severe illness among young children. At this point, most flu activity has been driven by illness in school-aged children, and hospitalization rates among children younger than 5 years old (7.7 per 100,000) are now the highest among all age groups. Usually adults 65 years and older have the highest hospitalization rates. For comparison purposes, the last two H1N1 predominant seasons were 2013-2014 and 2015-2016 and the hospitalization rates among children younger than 5 years old for the same week were 7.2 per 100,000 and 1.8 per 100,000 respectively.

Flu shots can keep recipients from contracting some varieties of the disease. Even for strains not covered, vaccination can lessen the severity of illness.

Flu shots can be obtained in many places, including doctors’ offices and many pharmacies. Often, they are covered by insurance.

If you are feeling pretty confident about your chances of getting through a bout with the flu, consider this: What about those with whom you come in contact, especially children and older people? Flu can be deadly to them.

Don’t put it off any longer. Go get that flu shot before you or someone you love gets sick — perhaps desperately so.

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