You might want to stay inside after reading this. The 2012/2013 flu season is so bad that Mayor Thomas Menino in Boston has declared a state of emergency. Yes. A state of emergency. Over the flu. Pretty scary stuff.
In fact, this is the worst flu outbreak since 2009's H1N1 outbreak and it's not just in Boston. According to a Google Map, every state has high or "intense" flu activity except, oddly, for Connecticut. I guess they have Lyme disease to make up for it?
In Massachusetts alone, there have been 18 deaths related to this year's flu and there are 700 confirmed cases in Boston alone, which is 10 times higher than this time last year. It's pretty scary. No doubt about it. As a mom, I know I am suddenly worried that only one of my kids got the vaccine. Luckily, there is still time to get it.
Every time one of these epidemics starts, it's easy to panic. I know I am. Sometimes it feels like we're just kind of waiting on the next huge outbreak like the 1918 pandemic outbreak that killed 1 to 3 percent of the WORLD population. (OMG. Can you imagine?)
So, yeah. Panic seems about right.
The reality is, a flu pandemic happening again is really not a question of whether or not it will occur. It's more a question of when. It's a very real threat.
And the flu shot? Is only about 60 to 70 percent effective. So while getting it is always advised by doctors, it's probably not the solution we all want. So what is? Time. And staying indoors.
These kinds of stories always cause people to freak out and with good reason. It's scary. Personally, I know a lot of people who have had this flu (I just moved out of Boston two weeks ago), and it's as bad as they say. Luckily, they all survived, but one friend said he now understands why people die from it. It's no joke.
Stay safe, people. Get the shot if you need it and wash your hands.
Did you get the flu shot this year?
Image via APM Alex/Flickr