The Flu: Young Does Not Equal Untouchable
(BlackDoctor.org) — As a young adult aged 19 to 24 years, you may think you can handle anything, but there’s a very good chance that the 2009 H1N1 flu (sometimes called “swine flu”) will bring you down this year – seriously. This new flu virus, which emerged in the spring of 2009, may be circulating in your social circles, meaning you need to take extra care, since this flu is hitting young people particularly hard. That’s why the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is urging all young people between the ages of 19 and 24 to get the 2009 H1N1 vaccine this flu season.
College students across the country are being slammed by this new virus. For many, this has been the hard way to learn a very crucial lesson – just because you’re young, doesn’t mean you can’t get sick from the flu. Illness with 2009 H1N1 virus has ranged from mild to severe, and while most people who have been sick have recovered without needing medical treatment, hospitalizations and deaths from infection with this virus have definitely occurred, including in young, otherwise healthy people.
“What has been impressive is the rate at which the 2009 H1N1 flu is attacking young adults 19 to 24 years old, sometimes with serious consequences,” says Dr. Anne Schuchat, Director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases. “While most serious outcomes have occurred in people with chronic conditions like asthma and diabetes, about one-third of people who have been hospitalized with this virus were otherwise healthy.”
Since it takes two weeks to build immunity, it’s important to get vaccinated as soon as possible. The H1N1 vaccine is produced the same way as seasonal flu vaccines; and both the seasonal flu and the 2009 H1N1 vaccines have had very good safety track records. The CDC and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will continue to closely monitor the vaccines for continued safety.
And if you can’t stand needles, no worries – the H1N1 flu vaccine comes in a nasal spray, too!