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Flu Hits Md. Teens, Young Adults Especially Hard This Year

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Maryland is still in the grip of this year’s flu season. And across the nation, doctors say it’s hitting teens and young adults especially hard.

Gigi Barnett explains why.

Two days ago, Alli Gold started feeling the flu. It came on fast.

“Lots of coughing. I’m leaking everywhere from my eyes and my nose,” Gold said.

They’re the classic symptoms, and this year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says she’s in the age group that’s hit hard by the flu.

Adults between 18 and 64 make up a little more than 60 percent of all flu hospitalizations. Patient First physician Dr. Melissa Denham says there’s a reason why.

“Even though the recommendation is that everybody should get the flu shot, most likely children and the elderly are more likely to get vaccinated, whereas young adults often don’t get vaccinated,” she said.

Another reason is the H1N1 virus or the “swine flu.” It caused a 2009 worldwide pandemic that killed 200,000 people. It’s one of the predominant strains going around this world.

It’s in the flu vaccine, but without the shot, there’s no defense.

“It’s been included since 2009 when we had the initial pandemic of H1N1. But that is still what we are seeing primarily,” Denham said.

For Gold–a Baltimore County teacher–Monday will be a sick day and one more day off from work.

“With all of the snow days… it’s just crazy,” Gold said.

The CDC says six states were hit hard by the flu this year, including Connecticut, Texas and Kansas. Maryland was not on that list.

Doctors say only about 33 percent of teens and adults get the flu shot every year, compared to 60 percent of senior citizens and 50 percent of children.

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