It's already February in Chicago, and I am sure most of us (myself included) are already looking towards the coming warm weather. Consequently, the flu may be far from many people's minds.
It shouldn't be.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), flu season often peaks in February, and it can last well into May. It is not uncommon to see a spike in flu cases at this time of year. And the CDC has reported an increase in the number of flu cases in the United States and expects the number to increase. According to latest weekly surveillance report, there has been an increase in influenza A, and the predominant strain has been the H1N1 strain that caused the 2009 pandemic.
Thankfully, the flu vaccine includes protection against the H1N1 strain (as have the vaccines for the last several years). In addition, this year's vaccine has offered good protection against the main strains causing flu this season.
As the CDC says:
CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine for everyone 6 months and older. Vaccination can reduce flu illnesses, doctors' visits, and missed work and school due to flu, as well as prevent flu-related hospitalizations. More than 146.0 million doses of flu vaccine have been distributed in the United States. It takes about two weeks after vaccination for protection to set in, making now the perfect time to get vaccinated. Find a Vaccine.
I have personally seen the devastation that influenza can wreak, especially in the elderly and people with chronic illnesses. Thus, if you haven't gotten your flu shot, you should still consider getting it. It is not too late.
And as always, be well.
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