The flu season is definitely upon us. With it's fever, sniffling, sneezing, and all the other complications that come along with this nasty but yearly attack on our immune systems.
According to the Center for Disease Control, (CDC), influenza activity continues to increase in the Unites States and most of the country is experiencing high levels of influenza-like-illness (ILI)
Illinois is now one of the twenty-nine states that are reporting a high level of illness.
According to the CDC this year’s virus has started earlier than usual and there is an increase in hospitalizations from the disease in comparison to this time in past years.
“Information about flu related hospitalizations is collected from 15 states to calculate a rate of laboratory-confirmed influenza-associated hospitalizations. Right now, cumulative influenza hospitalizations rates are 8.1 per 100,000 people”, this according to Dr. Joe Breese who is Chief of the Epidemiology and Prevention Branch in CDC’s Influenza Division.
In just the last few days both hospitalizations and deaths from the virus have rapidly been on the increase.
The CDC has yet to announce that the virus is at epidemic levels but are actively monitoring the situation.
While this news may seem all doom and gloom, the CDC wants people to know the virus is serious so that they take action to prevent the flu and thus limit the outbreak.
According to experts at the CDC most of the 91% of the influenza’s viruses that have been analyzed at the CDC are like those contained in 2012-2013 influenza vaccine.
The CDC recommends Americans take action now and get their flu shots.
Local pharmacies such as Walgreens and CVS are regularly promoting their ability to give you the flu shot on a walk in basis during business hours. You can visit their website to schedule an appointment . Walgreens even allows you to save time by downloading the vaccine consent form to fill out before you arrive.
Most insurance plans also cover this vaccine as a preventive measure with sometimes only a copay or small deductible.
Some insurance companies such as AETNA actually issued their policy holders "flu shot" gift cards to take to Walgreens, CVS, and other locations to get a pre-paid vaccine.
The flu is spreading quickly and experts agree that it can sometimes take up to ten days for you to be fully protected from the virus.
Now is the time to get your flu shot if you haven't already. Protect your family with the flu shot also and help stop the spread of this potentially deadly disease.