The flu season is among us, but there s still time to vaccinate!

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Late last week, the CDC reported that the flu season is picking up steam. The most recent data indicate a high level of influenza cases in Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, Virginia, and New York City during the week of December 25. The flu is expected to peak in late January when children will be returning to school. However, the H1N1 swine flu is not this season’s dominant strain — so far, 70 percent of the circulating viruses are other influenza A strains, predominantly of the H3N2 strain. (However, both strains are covered by this year’s vaccine.) The remaining 30 percent comprise influenza B strains. CDC influenza division deputy director Dan Jernigan, M.D., MPH, warns that the elderly and youngest populations will bear the brunt of this year’s influenza effects. Meanwhile, the U.K.’s flu season is being dominated by the H1N1 strain, most likely due to less exposure and vaccination during the pandemic last year.

The fact that this season’s flu strain causes more pneumonia and hospitalizations in the very young and elderly is all the more reason to get vaccinated, says ACSH's Dr. Elizabeth Whelan. “It’s not too late to get your flu shot,” she and ACSH remind you!