Flu season gathers strength

We may be an island, but we are not immune to ailments from the Mainland.

Because of jet travel, diseases are just a few hours away from our tropical paradise. With that threat, we’d urge readers to get flu shots if you have not already done so.

This year’s version of the flu is romping across the Mainland. According to a story on the International Business Times website, there has been a huge spike in cases the last couple of weeks.

Although the southern United States appears to be hit the hardest so far, some hospitals as far away as Oregon are dealing with the spread by limiting admissions.

The IBT story quotes the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as saying most of the cases are the H1N1 virus, or swine flu.

“We are seeing a big uptick in disease in the past couple of weeks,” Dr. Joe Bresee, chief of Epidemiology and Prevention in the CDC’s Influenza Division, said in a statement, according to CBS News. “The virus is all around the United States right now.”

There is vaccine available here on Maui and we have not yet hit peak season for the flu. The Centers for Disease Control says the season runs from October to March and recommends the shots for anyone over 6 months old.

There are pharmacies here offering the shots and vaccine should be available at doctors’ offices too. Call and make arrangements to get your vaccination before the flu season peaks.

* Editorials reflect the opinion of the publisher.