Due to the amount of flu-related deaths last year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is urging people to get flu shots early this year. According to their recent statistics, the virus was responsible for taking at least 80,000 lives here in the United States.

It’s the highest flu death toll on record in over three decades. Doctors and infectious disease specialists admit that last season was severe in terms of the number of people infected and who had to be hospitalized. They also admit that last year’s vaccine wasn’t particularly effective.

Although last season’s vaccine was found to be 36% effective in protecting people or lessening the flu’s severity, the CDC highly recommends getting the shot each year, especially children, the elderly, and those with weak immune systems.

Every year, we’re pushed to get a flu shot to lower our risk of contracting the illness or to mitigate the worst of its symptoms. As you will hear in this video, sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. Many times, it has to do with the flu strain – or strains – for that year.

Each year, a new vaccine must be created, but health officials do that months in advance by doing their best to guess which strains will be creep up in the new season. Ideally, the strain (or strains) of the new season can be zapped with current dose in the shot.

Experts state the more people who get inoculated will not only help themselves, but also others by contributing to herd immunity.

One flu season, we took our little one to the ER and she was unofficially diagnosed with the flu. Unofficially? It was explained that flu virus mutates, and that the nasal test the hospital had was only for one or two strains of the virus. We were told it was likely my daughter had an entirely different strain like others who had visited the ER that year.

It’s a tricky illness that scares and frustrates medical professionals and us regular folk alike. The aim of the shot is to at least prevent people from getting so sick that they require emergency medical care. It’s a virus, so it cannot be cured with antibiotics.

The CDC and the medical community are pushing people to act fast and get the shot before the end of October. That goes for adults and kids older than six months. It’s possible to come down with the flu at any time, but the U.S. high season is considered to be from November to March.

You can get the shot at your doctor’s office, local pharmacies, and community clinics. In some cases, you may need to call ahead if there is a suspected shortage in your area. To learn more about the importance of the flu vaccine, click on this video from KGUN.

Did you deal with a bout of the terrible flu last year? Are you someone who gets the flu shot yearly? Will you and your family get one this year?

Source:

CDC

Chicago Tribune