Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

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Opinion

February 27, 2014

Get a flu shot, now

The Centers for Disease Control report flu activity across the U.S. each week, and last Thursday’s update came with an urgent call:

Get a flu shot if you haven’t already, particularly if you’re between the ages of 18 and 65. Months more of the flu season remain, and this year’s has been unusually deadly for people between the ages of 25 to 65.

From Sept. 29, 2013, to Feb. 8, the CDC confirm 571 deaths associated with influenza. Sixty-two percent of those deaths — 352 people — were between 25 and 64 years old.

This usually is the group least likely to get a flu shot.

Though Indiana’s 2013-14 flu season has not been as ferocious as last year’s, it struck early. Health officials report 45 deaths as flu-related, and the CDC say its prevalence in the state is widespread.

We know you’re as sick of hearing about flu vaccinations as many of your neighbors are from the bug itself. But we will continue to say it: It’s not too late to get that flu shot. It takes about two weeks after vaccination for your body to develop an immune response.

The CDC recommend everyone 6 months and older should get a yearly flu vaccine. School-age children are at a high risk for contracting the flu. Ample supplies for influenza vaccine are available.

But remember, if a family member falls ill with flu-like symptoms, keep him or her at home for at least 24 hours after a fever is gone.

No athletic event is too important. No job is so imperative.

As a parent, you have a responsibility to this community to isolate a sick child from others.

Ensure your family washes their hands often with soap and water. And implore them to avoid touching their eyes, nose and mouth. Germs spread this way.

Flu season is no fun. But if we all use common sense, we’ll get through it with the least amount of pain possible.

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