• Why the flu is taking a heavy toll on baby boomers

    The flu is putting Americans in the hospital at the highest rate in nearly a decade. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Friday that 37 children have died of the flu this season. The agency does not track adult deaths from the disease. The CDC still recommends that everyone six months of age and older get a flu vaccine.

    By the end of this season, it is predicted 700,000 people will have been hospitalized and 34 million will have contracted the virus. Surprisingly, the second-hardest hit group is baby boomers.

    “CBS Evening News” anchor Jeff Glor asked medical contributor Dr. Tara Narula why the flu is taking such a heavy toll on baby boomers. She said one reason may be that baby boomers tend to be less vaccinated. There’s also a theory called “imprinting.”

    “As a child, whatever the first virus is that you’re exposed to will dictate how your immune system responds down the road,” Dr. Narula said. “It may be that that baby boomer population had less exposure when they were younger to the circulating strain that’s currently going around so they’re getting hit harder now.”

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    Flu warning signs

    As for parents concerned about their children getting the flu, Dr. Narula says parents should make sure both they themselves and their kids are vaccinated. They should also look for some warning signs, which include heavy breathing, high fever, a child not eating or drinking, and lethargy. 

    Dr. Narula says that if parents see those signs, they should get their child to the emergency room.

    Source Article from http://feeds.cbsnews.com/~r/CBSNewsHealth/~3/uwi850Nr_WA/

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