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What Flu Data Tells Us

Thu, 02/27/2014 - 8:55am
Mike Auerbach, Editor in Chief

In the past I have railed against misinformation on the web and those who use this misinformation to support their beliefs.

In particular I have spoken at length about the misinformation concerning vaccinations – that there has been no credible evidence – ever – that vaccination cause any type of permanent maladies or side effects. And yet – people still think vaccines are evil and should be avoided.

I mention this again as the current flu season is beginning to wind down and the CDC has released preliminary figures regarding who got the flu and more importantly why these people got it.

Traditionally, flu season hits the elderly the hardest as they are the most vulnerable to the virus.

This year’s flu season has been different – the hardest hit group has been young and middle-age adults. Fully two-thirds of those in this age range got the flu this year – compared to only one-third in most flu seasons.

Why? The CDC says that the strain of flu this year that has made most people sick is swine flu or H1N1 which first showed up in 2009 and caused a global pandemic that was particularly bad for young adults. They add that the strain hasn’t mutated since then and the flu vaccine this year has had a 61% effective rate against the flu – a range between 60 and 70 percent is considered good.

So back to the why – why did this year’s strain hit young adults so hard? They simply did not get vaccinated.

This fact leads me to believe that a lot of these people are either too lazy to get a vaccine or probably and perhaps more likely – believe the misinformation found everywhere on the web about the supposed dangers of vaccinations.

I think this also speaks to that feeling of “immortality” that young adults have. The notion that they don’t get sick and don’t have to worry about things like the flu. That’s a sickness of the elderly or the infirm.

And yet – the CDC says – among infectious diseases – flu is one of the nation’s leading killers. On average, 24,000 Americans die each year from the flu. How many would be alive today if they simple got a jab in their arm?

So my advice – do your research, look at the facts, check out reputable websites – and get a flu shot. It could save your life.

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