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Even If You’re Young and Healthy, Flu Can Bring You Down
January 12, 2010
As a young adult aged 19 to 24 years, you may think you can handle anything, but there is a chance that H1N1 flu (sometimes called “swine flu”) will bring you down this year, and in a serious way. Young adults have been hit extremely hard by H1N1 this season. That’s why the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is urging all young people between the ages of 19 and 24 years to get the H1N1 vaccine.
College students across the country have been slammed by this new virus. For many, this has been the hard way to learn that just because you’re young, doesn’t mean you can’t get sick from the flu. Illness with H1N1 virus has ranged from mild to severe. Most people who have been sick have recovered without needing medical treatment. However, hospitalizations and deaths from flu infection have occurred, even in young, otherwise healthy people.
“The extent of H1N1 infection among young adults 19 to 24 years old has been alarming,” says Sue Ellen Morrison, Disease Control Manager at the Buncombe County Department of Health. “Being young and healthy does not guarantee protection from H1N1, as about one-third of people who have been hospitalized with this virus have been otherwise healthy.”
Since many young adults are regularly around a large variety of people, whether it’s their families, friends, workplace, or classrooms, they are more likely to expose themselves and their loved ones to this virus. Vaccination is not only important for their own health, but also for those around them.
If you think it’s too late to worry about flu vaccine, think again. Doctors know that the flu season can last as late as May, so vaccination and everyday preventive actions like hand washing continue to be important ways of protecting yourself and others.
Afraid of potential side effects? Be assured that the H1N1 vaccine is produced the same way as seasonal flu vaccines are made, and millions of people across the country have safely received the H1N1 vaccine. And, you can’t get the flu from the flu shot because it contains inactivated viruses that cannot cause flu illness. If someone you know got the flu soon after getting the flu vaccine, they were probably exposed to the virus shortly before getting vaccinated or during the two-week period it takes the body to gain protection after getting vaccinated.
So, get out there and get vaccinated! And if you can’t stand needles, no worries. The H1N1 flu vaccine comes in a nasal spray, too.
The H1N1 vaccine is free at the Buncombe County Department of Health. Come by any time Monday through Friday from 8am to 4:30pm, no appointment needed. For more information, call the local Flu Hotline at 250-6400 or visit www.buncombecounty.org/h1n1 or www.flu.gov.