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Maryland among states hardest hit by flu

January 17th, 2019 by WCBC Radio

This year’s flu season is expected to continue for several more months. Because of that, health providers including those with MedExpress Urgent Care are strongly encouraging people to make sure they get a flu shot. The CDC is reporting that between 6 to 7 million people nationwide have come down with the flu so far this season, with half of them seeking help from a medical provider.

The virus is spreading regionally in 18 states and territories including Maryland, and is widespread across an additional 30 states. 

But it’s not too late to get vaccinated! The flu vaccination is still the best protection from getting the flu and spreading it to others. It takes about two weeks for the body’s immune system to develop antibodies that protect against the virus after the vaccine is administered. 

The flu vaccination is recommended for everyone over six months of age (with rare exceptions), but is especially important for children, seniors, individuals with chronic illness or compromised immune systems and pregnant women. The flu shot reduces risk of contracting the flu by 40 percent in pregnant women and helps protect the baby.  Even people who contract the flu after getting the vaccine typically experience less severe symptoms.

The flu season typically runs from October through May, and peaks between December and February.  Between Oct. 1, 2018 and Jan. 5, 2019, an estimated 69,000 to 84,000 people were hospitalized across the country because of the flu.  The CDC is warning that the virus is still dangerous and that it’s hard to say how the flu season will play out in the coming weeks and months.

MedExpress Urgent Care providers can update your listeners on:

  • Why are so many people continuing to get the flu?
  • Why is it not too late to get vaccinated?
  • What are the signs and symptoms of the flu?
  • Why are some people hospitalized with severe symptoms, and others not?
  • Who should get vaccinated? (Pregnant women, those with weakened immune systems, older adults and young children, just about everyone!)
  • The types of flu vaccines available. (This year the CDC included the nasal vaccine as a recommended option.)
  • Is it possible to get sick from the flu vaccine?
  • How effective is the vaccine in preventing a person from getting the flu?
  • Can you provide any flu prevention reminders? (Washing your hands, proper way to cough, etc.)

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