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In light of September being National Preparedness Month, now is a great time to prepare for the upcoming flu season by getting your flu shot. According to the experts, this year’s flu season is getting off to an early start, with many states already reporting having patients testing positive for the flu virus. In previous years the typical flu season didn’t start to pick up until October, and usually peaked between January and March. With the flu season starting extra early this year, experts are worried that the virus might spread quicker since many people haven’t gotten their flu shots yet. As a result, there has been a recent surge in media campaigns urging everyone over 6 months of age to get their flu shots now.
Considering that patients could protect themselves from getting the flu with just one simple shot, health officials find it alarming that the recent U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) statistics published Sept. 19th in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report reveled that less than half of the American population got their flu shots last year, even though experts say that everyone over 6 months of age should get the flu shot. Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the CDC, pointed out in a recent news conference that 90% of the 100 children that died as a result of flu-related complications last year had not gotten their flu shots and that “many of those deaths might have been prevented if children had gotten a flu vaccination.”
2013 Flu Shot Statistics (released by the CDC Sept. 19th)
-- Barely 46% of all Americans were immunized last year
-- Only 33% of adults between the ages of 18-64 got flu shots
-- A little over 50% of all pregnant women received the flu vaccine
-- 59% of kids were immunized
-- 75% of healthcare workers were vaccinated
-- 90% of all doctors and nurses were inoculated
Health officials also want to remind members of the public that once they get their flu shot it takes about 2 weeks for them to be protected. Therefore, the sooner you get vaccinated the better.
It’s also important to remember that although getting the flu vaccine significantly helps reduce your risks of getting the flu, it’s not a 100% guarantee. In addition to getting your flu shot, being diligent about frequently washing your hands with soap and warm water, disinfecting commonly used surfaces/objects, and staying home when you’re sick are all effective ways to help reduce the spread of the flu virus. Like Dr. William Schaffner, who is the past president of the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases said during the press conference, “influenza is constantly evolving, and it's unpredictable.” Mountainside Medical Equipment offers a wide selection of cold & flu relief products to help ease your flu symptoms and help you get back to feeling better quicker.