Medical Minute: Flu Season Is Back

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the annual supply of influenza vaccine, and the timing of its delivery, cannot be guaranteed in any year. Because of that, it's recommended that high- risk people should have the vaccine earlier than others.

Each year, the flu strikes up to 20-percent of Americans. Doctor Mark Akers says no one is immune.

"The typical way people catch cold and flu viruses is just by their natural defenses being lowered," explains Dr. Akers.

Doctor Arnold Monto agrees that everyone's at risk.

"The bulk of the flu infections are in the bulk of the population, mainly people who work, children in school," adds Dr. Monto.

Children are two-to three-times more likely to get the flu than adults, but most severe cases occur in people with chronic conditions and those older than 64.

"Those people, older people, people with chronic diseases who need to be protected should take the vaccine," Dr. Monto says.

The flu vaccine is the mainstay of prevention, but only 67-percent of older people receive it. Those who should have it include people over fifty, diabetics, those with heart, lung or kidney disease, people with severe anemia, those with weakened immune systems, and women who will be more than three months pregnant during flu season.

Each year, there are 36,000 flu deaths. Because of that risk, high-risk groups should get the vaccine in October, but there are other ways that might protect against the flu. Doctor Akers says one way is with Zinc and Vitamin C.

Some good advice to get you prepared.

For More Information:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
(800) 311-3435
www.cdc.gov

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