- Published on Wednesday, 16 January 2013 03:44
- Written by Jackie Jones, BlackAmericaWeb.com
Got a question about the flu? Text it to "646464" (OHOHOH).
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently reported that the 2012-2013 flu season is particularly bad. The virus has spread to 47 states and 20 people have died so far this season.
And, CDC director Dr. Tom Frieden said, it may get worse over the next several weeks.
This year’s version of the flu is not only especially widespread, but is also considered stronger than previous years. Many people avoid taking flu shots, usually citing a reaction to the shot itself or, especially among older Americans, relying on a pneumonia shot, taken about every five years, to protect them.
Most health professionals, however, still recommend getting an annual flu shot, even if patients have had the pneumonia vaccine.
Further, getting a flu shot doesn’t guarantee you won’t get the flu, but the CDC’s Frieden has said that those who get a shot this year will be far less likely, about 60 percent less likely, to contract the flu.
"What we've known for a long time is that the flu vaccine is far from perfect. But it's still by far the best tool we have to prevent the flu,"Frieden said.
Additionally, there are people at high-risk for serious complications from the flu, including:
• People with asthma
• People with diabetes
• People with heart disease and those who have had a stroke
• Adults 65 and older
• Pregnant women
• People who have HIV or AIDS
• People who have cancer
• Children younger than 5, but especially children younger than 2 years old
“I advise everybody to get one,” Dr. Rani Whitfield of Baton Rouge Louisiana, also known as "The Hip-Hop Doctor," said in a television interview about getting a flu shot.
“But those who are most at risk are children and the elderly because of their immune systems and those with chronic illnesses, so if you are diabetic, for instance, those patients should definitely get a flu shot.”
The flu vaccine will not give you the flu. According to the CDC, those who get flu-like symptoms after getting the vaccine most likely have been exposed to the flu before they were vaccinated or during the two-week period it takes the body to build its immunity.
Whitfield, a family physician who uses hip hop to empower people to take better care of their health, said patients should call their physicians, clinics and local pharmacies to see if the vaccine is available and schedule an appointment for a flu shot.
“The flu kills; so if you haven’t gotten a flu shot it’s not too late,” Whitfield said. “And wash your hands; it’s the safest thing you can do.”
For more information, talk to your doctor or contact theCDConline or call 1-800-CDC-INFO.