In the spirit of “The Total Self,” this article is all about health. The following stats and figures are from the federal CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in Atlanta, Georgia), plus I throw in some pointers on how to avoid the flu this year.
NOTE: This article is not a substitute for sound medical advice. Please consult with your primary care provider for any and all medical or health issues.
This flu season has been, and is, the most brutal one in recent memory. Maybe you got the flu shot and it didn’t affect you. You may have been among the many who swear against the flu shot and you haven’t gotten sick.
[Editor’s note: On Thursday, Feb. 8, the CDC reported the flu outbreak may have peaked in Oregon, first state in the lower 48 to see a drop in new cases.]
In any case, here are a few statistics on the 2017-18 flu season compiled by the CDC:
Overall, only 2 of 5 Americans in the U.S. received the flu shot by early November 2017.
– 38.8 percent of all children, age 6 months through 17 years, received the flu shot.
– 38.5 percent of adults age 18 and up received the flu shot.
Among children, flu vaccination rates were similar across the board of all racial/ethnic groups with one exception – non-Hispanic children of other/multiple races had higher flu vaccination coverage than non-Hispanic Black children.
Among adults 18-49, vaccination rates decreased by 3.7 percent in the 2017-18 flu season compared to the same period of time in the 2016-17 flu season.
Among Hispanics, vaccinations decreased by 7.7 percent over the same period.
This matters, because non-vaccinated persons are at a higher risk of contracting the flu and transmitting the virus to others, some of whom are at risk of having the flu/severe illness.
Bottom line is, 3 of every 5 persons in the U.S. were not vaccinated by early November 2017.
Now, here are statistics on mortality rates due to the flu:
A total of 101 influenza-related deaths in children occurred throughout the 2016-2017 flu season, the CDC reported. This was the first time since the 2014-2015 season that the number of child deaths has exceeded 100.
Each year, between 4,000 and 50,000 Americans are specifically killed by influenza, and most commonly it’s caused from a variation of an influenza A strain virus (per CDC data).
Influenza B strains tend to occur later in the season, and be of the more mild variety.
Influenza claims between 3,000 and 49,000 lives annually.
Over $10 billion is spent yearly to combat and treat the flu, meantime.
With these statistics, what can be done about this? Here are a few recommended steps:
1. SLEEP. Your body needs sleep. Your immune system will not function properly without proper rest.
2. Eat healthier. Your body needs the proper nutrients, vitamins and minerals to ward off the flu.
3. Water intake. Increasing water intake is crucial. During the winter months, water intake falls precipitously. Go beyond the government-recommended 8 glasses (of 8 ounces or more) of water per day. (I would estimate a healthy 200-pound adult male would need at least 12-15 glasses of water daily). Alternately, try snacking on water-based foods to help stay hydrated.
In closing, and I am sure you’ve seen this already by now, the flu is no joke. This flu season has been brutal!
Stay healthy people. Optimum health is fundamental to a vibrant life.
Staying healthy is a huge part of the basics. THE BASICS ALWAYS WIN.