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Flu Season Hitting the Younger Population [AUDIO]

Most of the time, exposure to influenza is most dangerous for older individuals, but this year just the opposite seems to be true.

(Credit: Joanne Myers, ThinkStock)

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports 61 percent of people in the hospital with the flu are people between the ages of 18 and 64, and more influenza-related deaths are also being reported among younger people than senior citizens.

“More younger people are getting the flu this year and being hospitalized because H1N1 is the predominant strain that’s circulating, and it is less likely that folks in this age category might have been infected by related strains of that flu virus and therefore don’t have that type of immunity,” said New Jersey state epidemiologist Dr. Tina Tan.

Tan also said those who have no pre-existing health problems may not bother with immunizations.

“Younger adults in that age range, especially those that are healthy, tend to be less likely to get the vaccine,” Tan said.

According to Tan, we’re starting to see a decrease in flu activity on a national level, but that’s not the case in the Garden State.

“Here in New Jersey we’re still seeing widespread activity, high levels of influenza-like activity,” she said. “It’s not too late to get a flu shot.”

She also stressed there are other things you can do to prevent the spread of influenza, including staying home if you’re sick and practicing good hygiene by washing your hands frequently and sneezing into your elbow.

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