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Vincent Iannelli, M.D.

Flu Season Wake Up Call

By January 14, 2013

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With reports of flu deaths reaching epidemic levels, major cities declaring public health emergencies, and reports of flu shot shortages, many parents are likely starting to get a little more worried with each new flu update they read.

While it is easy to think that things are getting over-hyped, it is important to remember that it is flu season. I think that we have just had so many mild flu seasons the last few years that many people have forgotten what a more moderate to severe flu season looks like.

So it shouldn't be a surprise that flu shots are hard to find in January, as it is well past when most people are typically vaccinated against the flu. While it is certainly not too late to get a flu shot, many doctors likely used up their supply of flu vaccine in October and November, hoping to get their patients vaccinated before flu season began.

And it shouldn't be a surprise that people are dying from the flu. There are a lot of flu deaths, including pediatric flu deaths, every single year, even in mild flu seasons.

This is the flu. Get vaccinated if you can. Avoid it so that you don't get sick. And stay home if you are sick, so that you don't spread it around even more. An early visit to your pediatrician might be a good idea if your child has severe flu symptoms or is in a high risk group that might put him at risk for having a severe case of flu, such as having asthma, diabetes, or other chronic health problem or being under two to five years old, etc.

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