Every year around this time, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) urges unvaccinated Americans to get the influenza vaccination in order to protect themselves from becoming ill.
According to a recent CDC study published in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 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 (MMWR).
Despite the benefits of flu vaccination, only 40% of Americans aged six months and older had received a flu vaccine this season as of early November.
“The estimated number of hospitalizations confirms what we’ve always known about the flu: it’s highly variable and can be deadly,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H.
Children aged six months to four years, as well as adults over 65, are the most vulnerable to influenza, accounting for an estimated 69 percent of preventable hospitalizations.
The CDC also stated that influenza causes an estimated 200,000 hospitalizations each year.
“By increasing the use of flu vaccines among people of all ages, we could prevent even more illness,” Dr. Frieden said.
According to the MMWR report, if 70% of the American population had been vaccinated last season, an additional 4.4 million flu illnesses, 1.8 million medically attended illnesses, and 30,000 flu hospitalizations could have been avoided.
“While our flu vaccines are not as effective as we would like, they can reduce flu illnesses, doctor visits, and flu-related hospitalizations and deaths,” said Anne Schuchat, MD, of the CDC.
Seasonal influenza activity is increasing in some parts of the United States, with more to come in the coming weeks. “If you haven’t gotten your flu vaccine yet this season, you should,” Dr. Schuchat advised.
While getting your flu shot this season, you should also check the status of your current life insurance policy to ensure everything is in order. If you do not have a policy, you should speak with your insurance advisor about getting one.
In fact, life insurance rates are currently at an all-time low in the industry, making it even easier to obtain a policy.