CDC recommends that all adults receive seasonal flu vaccine

New guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend that all adults ages 18 to 64 be given seasonal flu vaccines, according to a news release from the CDC. The…

CDC recommends that all adults receive seasonal flu vaccine

New guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend that all adults ages 18 to 64 be given seasonal flu vaccines, according to a news release from the CDC.

The seasonal flu shot is available in the form of two flu vaccines. For most people, one shot provides immunity from the influenza virus that strains usually circulate during the flu season. For those at high risk of complications from influenza, as defined by the U.S. government, a second vaccine helps prevent complications like hospitalization or death from influenza.

“Although fewer than 40 percent of people who received the first flu vaccine in any given year in the United States became fully protected, more than 80 percent of people who received the second flu vaccine became fully protected,” a press release from the CDC said. “Therefore, the new recommendations recommend that more adults be immunized against influenza.”

To comply with the new guidelines, the CDC recommends that adults follow the advice given during the flu season: “Put on long sleeves or long pants and use a scarf to cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze.” The CDC also recommends using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer to reduce the risk of spreading influenza to others.

Americans contracted the flu 12,374 times in the 2017-2018 flu season, according to the CDC. That was a decrease from the 23,000 flu cases that occurred the previous year. But there were 35 deaths among flu patients in 2017-2018. Overall, the National Center for Health Statistics reported that 6,791 people died during the 2017-2018 flu season.

At first glance, it appears that the number of confirmed flu cases could have been higher. Because it is easy to count influenza-associated hospitalizations or deaths with hospital records, it’s difficult to gauge how many flu cases actually occurred. According to the CDC, however, in the 2017-2018 flu season, five of six hospitalized children did not have proof of a laboratory-confirmed diagnosis of influenza by three days after their hospitalization. And nearly 40 percent of deaths among the elderly were caused by influenza.

Read the full story at Scientific American.

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