This flu season may turn out to be a particularly dangerous one, if early reports are any indication. Those reports are a good reminder that if you haven’t already had your flu shot, you’d better get to it.
The season already is under way, for one thing, and it’s making more people sick than usual. That’s true nationally; it’s also true in the Centers for Disease Control’s Region 10, which includes Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Alaska.
Here, the CDC statistics show, more people than average are visiting their doctors with flu symptoms, and more than a quarter of those visiting actually have the flu. That fits with the national average of only 70 percent of Americans bothering to get flu shots each year.
Yet flu kills.
The elderly — those 65 and older — and the very young are particularly hard hit by flu, as are people with asthma, diabetes, women who are pregnant and other specific groups. According to the CDC, some 36,000 of us, on average, die from the flu each year. It needn’t be that way. Flu shots are readily available. They’re not particularly expensive, either.
Meanwhile “getting a flu shot” can mean different things for different people, the CDC says. Those of us 65 and over should get something called a high-dose shot under normal circumstances, for one thing. And some of us — including babies under 6 months old and those allergic to chicken eggs — should not get the shot at all.
If you haven’t been vaccinated and you should be, make getting your flu shot one New Year’s resolution you keep.
It’s quick, easy, and it will pay off when you don’t come down with the flu.
For more information about flu shots and tips on how to prevent getting the flu visit flu.oregon.gov.