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Deadly flu season in full swing


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Photo by Jim Davis. Pharmacies throughout Prince George’s County — such as CVS, Giant and Safeway — offer flu vaccines.

Photo by Jim Davis. Pharmacies throughout Prince George’s County — such as CVS, Giant and Safeway — offer flu vaccines.

Published on: Thursday, January 17, 2013

By Tauren Dyson

What experts predicted to be a deadly flu season is now in full thrust.

Nationally, five states, including nearby Pennsylvania, have reported more than 100 flu-related deaths, and health officials expect those figures to climb drastically.

How is Prince George’s prepared to handle the problem?

CVS, Giant Foods, and Safeway will offer flu shots to uninsured customers for $30; insured will pay the amount of co-pay.

Two county health centers have also stepped up to offer flu shots through March: the D. Leonard Dyer Regional Health Center Maternal Health and Family Planning Program, located at 9314 Piscataway Road in Clinton between 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Tuesdays and the Cheverly Health Center Immunization Program, located at 3003 Hospital Drive in Cheverly, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesdays.

Why do health experts recommend the flu shot?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of estimated deaths ranges wildly from nearly 3,000 to just under 49,000. But experts predict that this year’s string of flu will be more virulent than recent seasons due to various health factors. To date, 42 states have reported instances of widespread flu, with the East Coast standing as one of the hardest hit regions.

Annually, the flu sickens hundreds of thousands of Americans. However, these groups are more susceptible to developing serious complications after they contract the disease: children between six months and five years of age, pregnant women, people 65 or older, and people living with chronic medical conditions.

Flu shots are not necessarily one-size fits all. The CDC approves certain flu shots for different groups: a regular flu shot for children ages six months and older, an intradermal flu shot for people 18 to 64 years old, and a high-dose flu shot for people ages 65 or older.

Also important to note, the CDC’s website states “this season’s vaccine so far is reducing the risk of having to go to the doctor for influenza by about 60 percent for vaccinated people.”

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