This year's flu season is not just hitting hard in the usual groups: the elderly, children and pregnant woman. A healthy, resilient, resistant age group is also coming down with this nastier strain.
In clinics across the Midstate, people are putting on masks to cover their cough and hopefully stop the spread of the flu.
“It’s been pretty rough. It's been going on about a week, it's been getting worse,” said 25-year-old Hannah McClure.
McClure is one of the many flooding into hospitals, doctor’s offices and emergency rooms with flu-like symptoms.
“I’ve never had a flu shot," McClure said. “It's kind of been my thing. I've never had the flu, never had a flu shot."
Dr. William Schaffner is an infectious disease doctor at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. He has a theory as to why more young adults are getting sick.
“They are less likely to get vaccinated, because after all they think they're immortal and tough,” he said. “They're more likely to go to work, go to the gym, attend religious services, whatever when they're ill and they become dreaded spreaders.”
“Yesterday was my first day back after a two-week vacation for the holidays, and I said no one is going to believe me if I come back from two weeks and I'm sick on the first day," McClure said.
Schaffner said this flu strain is not anything to mess around with.
“Young adults generally can fend off the flu,” he said. “But, this severe strain can take any young adult and make them sick.”
This year's flu vaccine is said to only be 30 percent effective.
However, Schaffner said, “The best flu vaccine that science can produce right now is the one we're using. It's not a perfect vaccine, but we'll take any measure of prevention and protection that we can get."
Schaffner said this dominant flu strain is more likely to make people with underlying conditions sick. And, on occasion, can send young adults to the hospital, within 24 to 48 hours.
He cannot stress this enough: wash your hands frequently, cover coughs and sneezes, and if you're sick, stay home.
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