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Don't Bring Flu Home from the Holidays

Published on 04 December 2014

By Clark Kebodeaux, Pharm.D., BCACP
Assistant Professor, St. Louis College of Pharmacy

For the past two years, we’ve seen a dramatic spike in flu cases nationwide in late December and early January. Data from the government shows this year’s season is tracking right along the same lines, opening us up for the potential of another spike in cases. That’s why I’m recommending everyone get a flu vaccine now. They’re readily available at your pharmacy, physician’s office, or local health care center.

It takes about two weeks for your body to build up its flu fighting ability. With Christmas and the holidays now just beyond that time frame, your body will need the time to prepare. For children, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) prefers healthy children between two and receive the nasal spray. If you are unable to find the nasal spray, the injected version will also work. Don’t delay getting the vaccine just so your child can have the nasal spray over the injection.

In Missouri, the number of flu cases are increasing. In the past several weeks, there has been a spike in the number of patients showing up in emergency rooms complaining of flu-like symptoms. The highest number of those visits are among children age 5 to 17. (Source)

Last year in Illinois, there was a major spike in flu cases beginning the week of Christmas. Children under were hardest hit. In the 2013-14 flu season, a majority of the hospitalizations began at Christmas and extending into the middle of January. This year, the numbers are beginning to rise for all age groups. So far in 2014, the hardest hit age range is from 5 to 24. (Source)

Additional data for all states can be found on the CDC website.

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