In an ordinary year, this would be early to start recognizing trends in the influenza season. Sadly, this is not an ordinary year, however, as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says an early start to flu season is hitting more of the most vulnerable patients than ever. Numbers are up across the board, but those over age 64 and under age 4 are being afflicted disproportionately at this point (3.6 cases per 100,000 people and 2.2 cases per 100,000, respectively; the next highest age group is 50–64 years of age, with just 1.4 cases per 100,000). These numbers are especially foreboding given that mortality tends to be greatest among the elderly, due to a greater prevalence of comorbid conditions and often diminishing immune systems. The CDC also notes, however, that significant protection is still possible for the duration of the flu season. Use these figures to convince reluctant patients to get themselves, their elders, and their children vaccinated today.
Patterns Emerge as Flu Season Progresses—Know What (and Who) to Look for