I love California weather. It was in the 90s last week. Our friend, KCRA-3 Chief Meteorologist Mark Finan, says it'll be in the mid-to-upper 70s the rest of this week. We could see the 80s next week.
All of which might make it pretty easy to forget it's flu season. And that's not something you should take lightly. In a shocking report released last week, the Centers for Disease Control announced that 80,000 Americans died of the flu last year.
Let that number sink in for a second. That's more people than live in Davis or Folsom. It's almost six times the population of Auburn. And it's double the number of people killed in car crashes across the country last year.
Yes, 90 percent of those deaths were in people over the age of 65---the most susceptible age group. But that means 10 percent---eight thousand---were under 65. The CDC says 180 of them were babies, children and teens, so that means 7,820 Americans between the ages of 20 and 64 died from the flu.
Even if those are mathematically long odds for you, the chance of getting some degree of sick with the flu is a lot higher. Think about how easy it is. You're standing next to a co-worker in the lunchroom. You've shaken hands and have been chatting for a few minutes. Then he or she sneezes. "Yeah, I've been feeling lousy for a couple of days now".
If you have kids, schools increase your exposure to whatever flu bug the families of any of about 40 kids your child spends most of the day with have. The bell rings and it gets delivered straight to your home. It's the Amazon of influenza.
Your best bet against being a statistic this year? Getting a flu shot. It takes about 10 minutes, from filling out some very simple paperwork at your nearby doctor's office, pharmacy, grocery store or clinic to walking out with a bandaid on your bicep. And for just about anyone with health insurance, it's free. Most insurers have figured out they'd rather let you skate on the co-pay than bear the costs of anything from a week in bed to a hospital visit or worse.
And---because we're all in this together---you'll be less of a threat to the health of the people around you.
I got my flu shot about three weeks ago. How about you? And why not today? They take walk-ins.
Kitty O'Neal and I will keep you company on the drive to and from your flu shot this afternoon. Tune us in between 4 and 7 at 93.1 FM, 1530 AM or on the iHeartRadio app.