By Emily Miller
Around this time every year, the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) urges unvaccinated Americans to get the influenza vaccination to help protect themselves from getting sick.
Flu vaccinations prevented an estimated 6.6 million flu-associated illnesses, 3.2 million medically attended illnesses, and 79,000 hospitalizations during the 2012-2013 flu season, according to a recent CDC study in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR).
However, despite the benefits of flu vaccination, only 40 percent of American six months and older had reported getting a flu vaccine this season, as of early November.
“The estimated number of hospitalizations reinforces what we have always known about the flu: that it is highly variable and can be very serious,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H.
Children aged six months through four years and adults over the age of 65 are the most vulnerable to influenza, accounting for an estimated 69 percent of preventable hospitalizations.
The CDC also cited that estimated 200,000 hospitalizations occur each year due to influenza.
“We could prevent even more illness by increasing use of flu vaccines among people of all ages,” said Dr. Frieden.
The MMWR report estimates if 70 percent of the American population had been vaccinated last season, another 4.4 million flu illnesses, 1.8 million medically attended illnesses and 30,000 flu hospitalizations could have been prevented.
“Even though our flu vaccines are not as effective as we want them to be, they can reduce flu illnesses, doctors’ visits, and flu-related hospitalizations and deaths,” said CDC’s Anne Schuchat, MD.
Seasonal influenza activity is increasing in part of the United States with further increases expected in the coming weeks. “If you have not gotten your flu vaccine yet this season, you should get one now,” said Dr. Schuchat.
While your getting your flu vaccination this season, it is also advised to check the status of your current life insurance policy to make sure everything is in order. If, however, you don’t have a policy it is encouraged to talk with your insurance adviser about taking one out.
In fact, life insurance rates are currently at an industry all-time low, which makes getting a policy even easier.