Thursday, January 17, 2013

New podcast: Flu season update from CDC

A potrait of Dr. Michael Jhung from the CDC
Dr. Jhung, MD, MPH, MS,
Medical Officer for the CDC
Have you noticed that a lot of people are talking about the flu right now? It’s on the news, and as more people come down with the flu this year, it’s on everyone’s minds, too.

More than 40 U.S. states are reporting widespread flu activity in what has turned out to be an early start to the 2012-2013 flu season. The Get Ready campaign spoke with Michael Jhung, a medical officer for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, to get the scoop on this year’s flu season in the latest episode of our Get Ready Report podcast.

Jhung said that this year’s flu season is off to “quite an early start,” and that this year could turn out to be worse than last year’s flu season.

Why worry about the flu? Jhung reported that the flu kills anywhere between 3,000 and 49,000 people in the U.S. each year, and makes thousands more severely ill.

“Influenza puts several hundred thousand people into the hospital every year in the United States,” he said. “Even if you don’t end up in the hospital with influenza, it’s really a miserable experience to be pretty much incapacitated for the few days to week of influenza symptoms.”

If you’ve been lucky enough to avoid the flu so far this year, you can increase your chances of staying healthy by getting a flu shot. That’s right — it’s not too late!

“There is a lot of flu activity out there right now, and there is every reason to go out and get vaccinated if you haven’t been vaccinated already,” Jhung said.

If you are looking for the flu shot, check to find a location near you.

Jhung also explains during the podcast why some flu seasons are worse than others, and talked about how the CDC monitors flu every year. Plus, he has other useful tips for keeping yourself healthy after you’ve gotten your flu shot.

Check out the podcast for more helpful information about the flu. You can listen to the episode or read the full transcript. And don’t forget to subscribe to our podcast for free via iTunes!

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