Ho, ho, ho! It’s that time of year. Time for………a flu shot! We’re in the early stages of flu season here in Arizona and although the number of reported influenza cases is down from last year – it is still well above our five year average.
KJZZ listed some eye-popping numbers that should encourage those on the fence to go out and get a flu shot. “The 2017-18 flu season was brutal: 80,000 people died — and about 1,178 of those deaths were in Arizona. Eighty percent of the children who died were unvaccinated.”
There were some fears last month that we would see another bad season, with some earlier than usual cases, but in its most recent weekly report, AZDHS says the cumulative total of cases so far this season is 235. At this point last season, there were 389 cases.
Experts are suggesting people take the easy approach to prevent to flu, such as washing your hands, cover your coughs and stay home from work or school if you are sick.
AZDHS recommends that everyone get their flu shot. We’re told this year’s vaccine is much more effective against the flu strains that are being seen.
The Arizona Department of Health Services has an interactive flu dashboard on its website. Once there you can track flu cases in your county and check weekly flu activity reports.
Now, for those who avoid being vaccinated because they believe a flu shot could cause them to catch the flu, AzCentral.com recently debunked that myth.
Because it takes about two weeks for the flu vaccine to take effect, there’s still time to protect yourself before the December holiday season.
“The holidays are when we spend time with family and friends. Don’t be the person that brings flu to family gatherings. Get your flu shot,” said Debbie McCune Davis, executive director of Executive Director of The Arizona Partnership for Immunization (TAPI).
Katz said it’s frustrating to hear patients say they don’t get flu vaccines because they got it once and it made them sick. The flu shot won’t make you sick, he emphasized.
Some patients may believe they got the flu after getting vaccinated, but in reality, they got a cold. And the flu vaccine injection is made with dead (inactivated) viruses and therefore is not infectious.
Whether you get a flu shot every year or you never get one, we’d love to hear your thoughts on why. While we believe it is important to be vaccinated, we also believe it is important to listen to a wide variety of viewpoints. Generating meaningful conversations around the health stories making headlines is another way we are working toward our long-term goal of one day making Arizona the Healthiest State in the Nation!