Happy New Year! Many people start each year with resolutions surrounding their health, so I’d like to jump in and suggest that you put one EASY resolution at the very top of your list. This resolution should take up well less than an hour of your life, yet can make a tremendous difference in your health for 2014…so here it is: GET YOUR ANNUAL FLU VACCINE!
If you have already received yours, pat yourself on the back & remember to encourage your friends and family to get theirs. I will confess that certain members of my family kept putting off their shots for a variety of reasons (including one trip to two pharmacies who were temporarily out of the vaccine last month), but we are 100% vaccinated now. My major message is two-fold: one, it is NOT TOO LATE in the season to get a flu shot, and two, just glance at the CDC’s map above to see how widespread the flu has become this year! Last year, influenza caused over 380,000 people to be hospitalized. This flu season, we are seeing a resurgence of the pH1N1 strain (originally known as swine flu, though the “p” is for “pandemic”, not pig). This particular strain is the type of flu that was so severe in 2009, but happily, all of the current flu vaccines DO include this strain. Note that pH1N1 can produce very severe illness, especially in young and middle-aged adults.
BOTTOM LINE: Start 2014 off right & GET YOUR FLU VACCINE (if you haven’t yet this season).