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The Record-Breaking Flu Season of 2017-2018

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), early estimates indicate that more than 900,000 people were hospitalized and more than 80,000 people died from the flu last season. These estimates are record-breaking. According to the Arizona Department of Health Services, there were 35,570 cases of influenza for the 2017-2018 season.

This is a significant increase over the past few years.

The flu affected most people aged 19 to 49 years. This is why flu vaccines are imperative. Studies have shown that flu vaccines can prevent the flu, lessen the risk of hospitalization including admission into the intensive care unit, and the severity of the flu. This is especially important for people 65 years and older, children younger than 5 years, pregnant woman, and patients with chronic conditions such as heart and lung disease. The CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine for everyone 6 months of age and older. Ideally, vaccinations should be given prior to influenza activity in the community, such as in October, but it is never too late to get vaccinated since the flu can occur and peak in later months. It takes about 2 weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body to protect you from the flu. For the 2018- 2019 flu season, there are many types of flu shots available including standard dose shots, high-dose shots for the elderly, and even a nasal spray vaccine. Therefore, it is important to talk to an infectious disease specialist to ensure the correct vaccine for you.