People enter a pharmacy next to a sign promoting flu shots in New York January 10, 2013. The country is in the midst of what is being described as a flu epidemic with much higher numbers of the sickness being reported than usual, according to local media.
(Photo : REUTERS/Andrew Kelly)
The season of influenza continues as January and February are considered as the peak months.
With the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirming 47 states reporting "widespread" flu cases, the rush for the flu vaccine has been in order.
According to the Chicago Tribune, people have flocked to pharmacies and clinics for their flu shots, hoping it is not too late to catch the bug. The CDC has ranked the state of Illinois as the 45th state in overall vaccination rates during the last flu season.
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As the season is reaching its peak, the CDC specified the people at "high risk" of developing flu-related complications.
"Most people who get the flu will have mild illness, will not need medical care or antiviral drugs, and will recover in less than two weeks," noted the CDC. "Some people, however, are more likely to get flu complications that result in being hospitalized and occasionally result in death."
Three set of people have been classified as high risk:
- Children younger than five, but especially less than two: The CDC recommends all children six months and older to receive a flu vaccination.
- Adults 65 years of age and older: The CDC noted 90 percent of flu-related deaths or hospitalizations occur in people 65 years old and older. "This is because human immune defenses become weaker with age."
- Pregnant women: The CDC stated flu shoots will protect pregnant women and their unborn child. The changes that occur in a woman's immune system, heart, and lungs during pregnancy make women more vulnerable to complications from the flu, resulting in hospitalization or even death.