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Are You Ready for Flu Season? – Better Get Vaccinated

Toddler girl laughs holding the female doctor's stethoscope while the she examines her.

The time for sniffles, stuffy noses, and fever is quickly approaching – and, if this year’s flu season is as bad as last year’s – watch out! At least, that’s what health officials are saying. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – every person in the country over the age of 6 months is urged to get in line for a flu shot. Whether you have Obamacare health insurance or not – it’s the smart thing to do.

While millions of people opt to suffer through it, the flu is nothing to sneeze at. In fact, the flu is a potentially serious illness – especially for the young and the elderly. For years, the CDC has stressed the importance of vaccinations as the best way to prevent the bug from getting you and your family sick – and, being forced to lose valuable days of work and school.

Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the CDC, announced recently that there would be enough vaccine to meet demand this flu season. To accommodate that demand, 171 million doses of flu vaccine are being produced – with about 40 million doses having already been distributed.

And, more good news – the flu strain that caused millions of illnesses last year has been targeted by the current vaccine to combat potential widespread influenza outbreaks. But, as with all vaccines, while the modified formula should be very effective this flu season, keeping up with all possible new strains can be difficult.

Still, many people don’t seem to know the difference between a bad cold and the flu, which can lead to health complications – especially if they go to work or school, putting co-workers and school mates at great risk. Despite the CDC recommendations, less than half of the nation’s population was vaccinated for the flu season last year. And, in the 18-to-49-year-old age group, just 34 percent felt the need to receive a vaccination.

Dr. Kathleen Neuzil, director of the Center for Vaccine Development at the University of Maryland School of Medicine has another theory why some people avoid getting the flu vaccination – and, that’s because they believe they’re “invincible.” Of course, there are probably a slew of other personal reasons for these individuals not pursuing the protection of the vaccine.

Invincibility aside, whatever their reasons for refusing to get vaccinated, these people, typically, get the flu just like the rest of us. And, they should get a flu shot, not only to prevent themselves from falling victim to the bug – but, from spreading it to persons who are particularly vulnerable to influenza, such as children, seniors and pregnant women.

As proof that vaccinations do affect the spread of influenza, a recent study found that those over the age of 65 had a much lower probability of getting a flu-related illness, when a mere third of younger adults in neighboring areas received a flu shot.

Sadly, 145 documented deaths of children from the flu were reported last year. The consensus is that the actual number of pediatric deaths related to influenza was likely “much higher” than that, according to Frieden.

With the availability of locations, including their doctors, pharmacies, and workplaces participating in the flu shot program, people have less excuses to get the preventative vaccination.

If you can increase your chances of avoid the flu this season while everyone else is sniffling, blowing their nose, and feeling miserable around you, shouldn’t you take it?

The same can be said about health insurance. If you can get affordable health coverage with the help of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), shouldn’t you take it? After all, you don’t want to pay a penalty or a second penalty for not having health insurance again this year. Why not get a free health insurance quote today?

What do you think about getting a flu shot every year? Do you always get vaccinated as recommended by the CDC? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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