You might just want to rethink skipping that flu shot. This year, a ton of people in the U.S. have already caught the flu. In fact, the spikes in the number of cases are close to mimicking the monstrous 2017-18 flu season, which was one of the worst in almost ten years, according to the end of December’s Weekly U.S. Influenza Surveillance Report released by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
That doesn’t mean this season will necessarily be a whopper, though. The report notes that, “this week’s data may in part be influenced by changes in healthcare seeking behavior that can occur during the holidays.”
Still, The New York Times reports that this year’s vaccine isn’t a great match for the particular strain of the flu that’s on the rise right now. That may play in a role in why so many people are getting sick.
Even so, given that the CDC says that an average of 12,000 to 61,000 people die of the flu each year in the U.S., there’s no reason to take any chances: Get the flu shot. As long as the illness is still circulating, vaccinating yourself is still a good idea, Cynthia Li, MD previously told Refinery29. Even if you get the flu, there’s evidence that being vaccinated can reduce the symptoms you experience.
Other ways to minimize your chances of getting sick this year include washing your hands often and getting enough rest. And as soon as you suspect you have the flu, call your doctor.
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