Young, Middle Aged Adults Hardest Hit By This Season's Flu

By: Liz Hayes Email
By: Liz Hayes Email

Young adults and middle aged adults are being hit particularly hard with influenza this year, specifically, the H1N1 strain.

That's according to recently released data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Despite this, it's been a moderate season for flu in Wisconsin.

Across the country, people aged 18 to 64 represented 61 percent of all hospitalizations from influenza this season, compared to about 35 percent in previous seasons.

In Langlade County, there haven't been any hospitalizations, however of those diagnosed with the flu, adults have been the only documented cases.

"We would not consider this as being an aggressive flu season for us compared to other years," said Karen Hegranes, R.N., the public health nursing supervisor for the Langlade County Health Department.

She says that's similar throughout North Central Wisconsin.

The bitter cold may have something to do with it. It's possible people haven't been traveling as much, therefore not spreading around their germs.

In Langlade County, the health department conducted several successful flu clinics in local schools, vaccinating a large population of children.

Many pharmacies and public health departments stil have flu vaccines available and recommend you get one if you haven't already, because the flu season can last for several more months.

"We will see flu through April, so we'll say vaccination is important all the way through April," Hegranes said.

In addition, when we first saw H1N1 locally in 2009, we were hardest hit in May, June and July, and because we haven't seen B strain viruses this season, they're likely still on the way.

CDC recommends everyone six months and older get a flu vaccination.

The fact that young and middle adults were hospitalized the most this season shows that anyone can be vulnerable to the disease.

According to CDC, people at high risk for flu complications are pregnant women, those with asthma, diabetes or heart disease, those who are morbidly obese and people older than 65 or younger than 5, and particularly those younger than 2.

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