You did get a flu shot this time, right?

The Boston Public Health Commission reports a sharp rise in flu cases in the under-5 set likely signals the start of more widespread flu cases among adults.

Emergency-room visits for flu-like symptoms in general is up sharply over the past month, but especially among children under 5, the commission said today. Lab-test sampling - not everybody who shows up at an ER with fevery aches has samples sent for testing - shows 21% of cases are now among kids under 5, the commission said.

"If we're seeing this level of flu activity in children, then adults are likely to soon follow," said Dr. Anita Barry, director of the Infectious Disease Bureau "Influenza often starts in a community in children, then spreads to adults."

Barry said it's not too late to get a flu shot, which is now recommended for everybody over the age of six months.

Free flu clinics (there's one Friday in Uphams Corner).



    Free tagging: 



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    Never had a flu shot -- or the flu -- in my life. I feel like you need to show some confidence in your immune system if you want it to work hard for you.

    Also, I hate needles.

    Get out more

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    You should learn how vaccines work. It's because you have confidence in your immune system learning from the vaccine that you'd get it so you don't have to let it figure it out when the flu virii are already throughout your system. It can't work hard for you later if it's never seen what it's supposed to be stopping before.

    If you've never gotten influenza, you probably just don't have a lot of social contact. Congratulations?

    You can always snort it!

    The vaccine that is. A nasal spray version is available to people who are not elderly and/or do not have compromised immune systems.

    And, congratulations on being flu-free your entire life. Remember though, there's always a first time!


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    Elderly is always 10 years older than the writer.

    Schools and Daycare

    Plague intensifications systems, seriously. That is how they know that high flu activity in the younguns means bad news for all.

    I'm so glad they offered in-school clinics this year in my kids' school system. Mine were vaccinated before that, but there is about 40 years of research that points to schools as incubators for community-wide epidemics.

    Just Get the Shot

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    People who think they're invincible and don't get flu shots should realize that it's unlikely that they are naturally immune, or immune to every new flu strain. More likely they've been lucky or live isolated lives.

    People who skip flu shots because they "don't mind getting the flu" should remember that, if they do get sick, they can infect others, including those with poor immune systems, the elderly, and little kids. In other words, they can spread the virus to people who are more likely to die from it. It's worth a little jab in the arm to keep that off my conscience. Flu shots don't give immunity from all flu viruses, but at least you tried.

    On top of which, having the flu truly sucks. It usually hits you like a freight train, and can keep you down for a week.


    Used to be, I didn't bother with flu shots - I'm not very fond of needles myself, and I have got a pretty robust immune system. I won't say I've never ever had the flu, but it's been pretty rare. (However, if they ever come up with a shot for norovirus, I'll be there - I never want to experience that again!)

    But I work in a hospital (albeit in a no-patient-contact role), I ride the bus every day, and up until a few years ago I shared a home with both of my elderly and highly immunocompromised parents, so it made sense for me to start getting a flu shot every year. Not so much for myself, but because I didn't want to kill one of my parents - or some poor stranger who's not as healthy as I am, for that matter.

    Not to mention that since the big H1N1 scare last year all hospital employees have been required to either get the shot or formally decline it.

    I support having a flu shot (I get mine every year),

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    first because one doesn't want to infect others. Secondly, It's a royal pain to have the flu, especially given its unpredictability. Thirdly, however, while the flu shot isn't a complete guarantee against getting the flu (especially because there can be more than one strain of the flu going around), a person who's received their flu shot will be far less likely to get pneumonia or other complications, and, in the event that a person does get the flu (even a different strain from the one that the current vaccine is made to protect against), s/he will likely to have a milder case of the flu than if they don't get the flu vaccine at all.