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By Henrietta J. Burroughs                Follow East Palo Alto Today on
East Palo Alto Today                          Facebook    Twitter         Blog              
January 11, 2019                    EPA Today Facebook page Follow epatoday on Twitter EPA Today Blog Icon



A vaccination
Photo courtesy of https://www.smchealth.org

Did you get your flu shot? If not, it’s not too late and according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), its critical that you do so. In fact, CDC officials are urging flu shots for everyone over 6 months old.

CDC data shows that the flu is increasing nationwide along with flu related deaths.  The flu season begins in November and peaks in February, but it’s known to affect people even in May. So far, there have been 42 flu reported deaths in California this flu season. Six of these deaths occurred this week and one of those who died was a 39-year-old Santa Clara resident.

Medical experts say that Influenza H1N1 is the most common strain of the flu virus in the U.S. and the current flu vaccine provides protection against this strain. In order for a family to have complete protection against the flu virus, it’s recommended that each family member get vaccinated.

Even if a person is vaccinated and contracts the flu, their symptoms will be milder because of their vaccination.

Regular hand washing, which reduces the spread of harmful viruses and bacteria, is one of the easiest preventative measures a person can take, short of being vaccinated. Children, pregnant women and those over 65 are most at risk for getting the flu, along with those in nursing homes and those with chronic medical conditions.

People who are already sick are advised to stay home from work and school to prevent the spread of their illness. When it comes to the effectiveness of the flu vaccine, the current data shows that the flu shot reduces a pregnant woman’s chance of catching the flu by 40 percent and provides immunity for her baby

During the 2017-2018 flu season, 185 children died from the flu. Of this number, CDC data shows that 80 percent were not vaccinated
It’s easy to wonder whether one has a cold or the flu. Here are some common symptoms of both:

Signs and Symptoms   Influenza/Flu    Cold


Usual; lasts 3-4 days



Usual; often severe



Fairly common


Fatigue, weakness






Stuffy nose



Sore throat



Chest discomfort, cough

Common; can be severe

Mild to moderate; hacking cough




Get more information at https://www.cdc.gov/flu/consumer/symptoms.htm


The author of this article, Henrietta J. Burroughs, can be contacted by email at epatoday@epatoday.org