Finally in the news this week is a look at the CDC’s recent follow up report on this year’s flu season. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control says the flu season which started to increase back in mid-November last year has continued to spread and is still elevated at this point in February. The H1N1 virus is still the predominant virus responsible for the cases seen but influenza A and B are also causing cases.
Vaccine Still Effective for This Year’s Flu
The vaccine this year covers all three and there is evidence that the vaccine is doing its job of protecting at-risk populations like the elderly. However, this year’s flu season is striking the middle-aged and younger adult populations particularly hard and evidence shows that those who aren’t vaccinated are being hit particularly hard.
The hard impact on those patients 18-64 years of age is thought to be from two factors. First, older patients are suspected of being resistant to H1N1 due to prior exposure to similar virus antigens earlier in life. Secondly, these younger adults are far less likely to think they need to get vaccinated.
Not Too Late for Vaccination
The CDC says it’s not too late to recommend vaccination to adults of all ages so that they can be protected for the remainder of the year. We nurses and other health care professionals need to do a better job of educating the public for the remainder of this flu season and for next year’s flu season. If we don’t encourage our healthy middle-aged and younger adults to get vaccinated we are likely to see similar results when next fall rolls around and the 2014/15 flu season starts.
Take this opportunity to share this article with people you know. I’ll make sure to provide a link to the CDC report so you can have it for your own reading but let’s get the word out about vaccine efficacy and the importance of getting everyone vaccinated for the remainder of this year’s flu season.
Make sure you follow-up on the links for this news item and all of the other news and additional resource links from this week’s episode –Digital Health Tools to Manage Chronic Disease and Episode 283.