Flu Season Arrives In Westchester County
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), 5 to 20 % of Americans catch the flu and about 24,000 die from complications of it every year.
The virus can range from fairly mild to very severe, and while it might be difficult to predict the severity of one flu season versus another, the best protection against falling victim to it, said Dr. Pete Richel, chief of pediatrics at Northern Westchester Hospital, is to get vaccinated.
“The extent of a flu season varies from year to year in terms of the strains that emerge, how well they match those used in the vaccine and how many people receive the vaccine,” said Richel. This, he said, makes it difficult to predict epidemics.
Unlike other vaccinations, however, the one for flu is only recommended and not required, said Richel. But he said those at greater risk are strongly recommended to receive the vaccine. They include children aged six months to four years, people above the age of 50, pregnant women and healthcare workers, as well as “those with some sort of compromise, including asthma, diabetes, heart conditions and those with immunosuppressions.
According to Richel, many parents “opt out” of vaccination because Influenza immunization is not required.
“If they have healthy children, they feel the risk of Influenza infection in their family is low,” he said. But he said there is “no downside” for receiving a flu vaccination, now that it is offered in preservative-free, single doses.
Read complete story in The Daily Voice
Photo Credit: Flickr user Dalgia
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