It’s that time of year again

In Health & Lifestyles on September 10, 2010 at 6:33 pm

By: Lauren Harper

This year, the CDC encourages not only young children and the elderly to get a flu shot, but for everyone to be vaccinated. Photo courtesy Google images

It’s September, and the first anniversary of the Swine Flu epidemic is approaching. The H1N1 virus, or the Swine Flu as it was popularly called, swept the nation as one of the most contagious outbreaks the country had seen in years. This strand of the regular influenza virus claimed the lives of thousands of people worldwide, and was the cause for even more people to be hospitalized during the pandemic. The country was not prepared for such an outbreak, which resulted in many people contracting the virus and the making of a rushed vaccine that may or may not have been effective. This is why the U.S . Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is urging everyone to get vaccinated for the flu early on to prevent as many flu diagnoses as possible.

            This is a change from past years because the CDC is now encouraging everyone over the age of six months to get a flu shot, instead of just the at-risk group, which consists of young children, the elderly, and those with chronic illnesses. After finding that many teenagers and young adults were unusually susceptible to the Swine Flu, this age group is also now considered as high-risk. Many pharmacies around the country are administering the shot, along with the nasal spray vaccines as well. According to the CDC, around 165 million vaccines will be given this year, so there should be enough for everyone who wants one.

            When exactly will the 2010 flu season start? Well according to Dr. Anne Schuchat, a CDC official, the “flu is unpredictable. Every season is different.” With this being said, she encourages people to not wait until they think they have the flu to get the shot, but rather get their vaccination as soon as possible. This year, there will only be one vaccine for the flu with both the H1N1 and seasonal flu vaccines in one dose. Also, with small outbreaks of a H3N2 virus spreading in the southern hemisphere, the immunization for that virus will be part of the flu shot vaccine as well.

            Getting the flu shot in September seems like it would be too early, but in actuality, immunity to the virus will last through the year. Also, it is never too late to get a flu shot. It is encouraged to receive the vaccine as long as the virus is being spread. So instead of waiting until everyone in the school has gotten the flu, go ahead and contact the local pharmacy and get a flu shot ASAP.


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