Flu Season in 2013: Have You Been Vaccinated?
The season started a month early and is hitting New Jersey hard. Patch wants to know: Are you prepared?
The new year has meant a lot of sneezing and high fevers throughout the nation as we endure an apparent influenza epidemic active in 47 of the 50 states.
New Jersey has not been spared. PhillyBurbs.com reports the state has two pediatric flu-related deaths on the books already: an 8-month-old boy from Camden County and a 14-year-old boy from Ocean County. Department of Health spokesperson Donna Leusner told the publication that both victims had other medical conditions that made them more susceptible to flu.
Even local celebrities aren't spared: "The Real Housewives of New Jersey"'s Joe Gorga reportedly was hospitalized in Montville after coming down with influenza.
The reality is clear, say health professionals: Flu is serious business, and it doesn't discriminate. Those at greater risk for serious flu complications include people over the age of 65, young children, pregnant women and nursing home residents. People with chronic medical conditions such as asthma, diabetes, cystic fibrosis and chronic lung disease—and their caregivers—are also at risk. But getting the flu is not a good idea for anyone, however young or healthy you already are.
If you haven't yet been vaccinated, the Centers for Disease Control say it is not too late to be protected from the disease, whose season could last as long as May. Physicians' offices, health centers and a host of Parsippany locations offer flu shots, and most are covered by health insurance.
Getting the vaccine is not foolproof: The incubation time before the immunization becomes fully effective can be as long as two weeks. And the CDC says that the flu shot will prevent about 62 percent of those who get it from having to get medical attention. But for those six months of age and older and those with chronic medical conditions, experts say the vaccination can be a literal lifesaver.
So Patch wants to know: Have you gotten the flu shot? Take the poll and let us know—and tell us in the comments whether you've suffered the disease this season and why you did or didn't or won't get the vaccine.