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Looking Toward Flu Season

Thu, 09/14/2023 - 05:57


While seasonal flu, as opposed to Covid-19, has yet to make a strong showing this year, now is a good time to make a plan to get the vaccine. The updated and highly advised Covid-19 shot is available, too.

Statisticians at the Centers for Disease Control like to think of each year’s flu season as running from October to October, and with good reason. After months of dormancy, flu cases in the United States begin to rise about two weeks from now. By Halloween, the number of positive flu tests go from about zero to 20,000 each week. In early December, the number of weekly confirmed flu cases leaps to around 50,000. Yearly flu cases vary widely, as do the number of deaths attributed to it. For the period from 2010 through 2020, as few as 12,000 and as many as 52,000 people in the United States died from flu each year. Without the shots, the figures would be far higher.

Some demographic groups are at higher risk of serious complications, though the C.D.C. advises everyone 6 months and older to be vaccinated by the end of October. Exceptions to that advice are very limited, and include allergies to a specific vaccine component or past reactions after getting a shot.

People 65 and older and adults with chronic conditions, such as asthma and heart disease, are among them. Flu shots are also highly recommended during pregnancy. Fever, one of flu’s most common symptoms, has been associated in some studies with adverse outcomes for developing babies.

Most pharmacies on the East End are now scheduling shots. In East Hampton, appointments were available for Saturday and beyond and could be made online. There really is no good reason not to get the shot and the time to think about it is right now.


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