WAUSAU, Wis. – According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), influenza generally contrib utes to 45 million illnesses, 810,000 hospitalizations and 61,000 deaths during the peak of each flu season between De cember and February. These rates have been much lower in recent years as a result of the preventative measures put in place to protect against COVID-19.
Health experts are predicting the upcoming flu season to be particularly impactful, especially as such protective measures continue to decline. The lower levels of cold and flu activity during the pandemic mean people haven’t been exposed to these illnesses as much over the past two years and our immune systems may be more susceptible.
“The number one thing people can do to minimize their risk of getting the flu is getting the flu shot," says Allyson Balthazor, a clinical pharmacist who is completing her first year of pharmacy residency at Aspirus Wausau Hospital. “The benefit of preventing the flu outweighs many risks that people may worry about when getting the flu shot. If you have any concerns about the flu shot, talk to your primary care provider or pharmacist.”
Aspirus strongly encourages vaccination against the flu for everyone 6 months of age and older as the best way to protect our ourselves and our communities. Flu shots are particularly important for people at higher risk of complications from the flu, including those who:
• Are pregnant
• Are younger than age 2 or age 65+
• Have a chronic health condition such as asthma, heart disease and diabetes.
Allyson adds "the best time to get the flu shot would be in September and October. This helps ensure immunity is high- est during peak flu transmission." Flu shots will be available to our communities through our primary care clinics starting in mid-to-late September. Offerings and appointment options may differ by location. Call your Aspirus primary care clinic for local options and to schedule an appointment. For more information, or to find a primary care provider at an Aspirus location near you, visit https://www.aspirus.org/.
About Aspirus Health
Aspirus Health is a non-profit, community-directed health system based in Wausau, Wisconsin. Its 11,000 employees are focused on improving the health and well-being of people throughout Wisconsin and Upper Michigan. Aspirus serves communities through four hospitals in Michigan and 13 hospitals in Wisconsin, 75 clinics, home health and hospice care, pharmacies, critical care and air-medical transport, medical goods, nursing homes and a broad network of physicians. For more information, visit aspirus.org.
Allyson Balthazor, clinical pharmacist with Aspirus