The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends flu vaccination early in the flu season. Still, it also suggests vaccination later in the season as well. So if you haven’t yet had your flu vaccine, it’s a good idea to get one.
While flu season peaks between December and February, influenza viruses can strike as late as May. According to the CDC, respiratory issues and flu viruses peak in December, January, February, and March. And while we expect flu viruses to taper off in spring, early 2019 saw flu viruses continuing later into the year, according to WebMD.
The flu can lead to serious health problems, especially in children and elderly people. For those with chronic medical conditions (for example, chronic pulmonary disease), the flu can be deadly.
The CDC has reported between 36,400 and 61,200 flu-related deaths from October 1, 2018, through May 4, 2019.
Older patients are especially vulnerable if they have conditions such as heart disease, lung disease, or diabetes. Because patients with chronic conditions may not be able to cough as readily as non-compromised patients, they are less able to clear their airways, which can lead to secondary infections such as pneumonia. And as we age, our ability to generate an immune response weakens.
We simply don’t respond as well to infections. This can make a “simple flu” a severe life-threatening condition in some cases.
If you decide to get a flu shot and your doctor is out of vaccines, call your local pharmacy or health department to see which facilities still have some available. This simple preventive measure just might save your life.