Protect yourself from the worst case of flu in a decade

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The flu breakout of 2012-2013 is one of the earliest peaking and worst cases of flu doctors have seen in a decade. Patients have been backed up in doctors’ offices for 19 consecutive weeks, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Because of this outbreak, many clinics have run out of flu shots. The Utah County Health Department (UCHD), however, has not. With locations in Provo, American Fork and Payson, the UCHD has both flu shots and nasal vaccinations on a first-come, first-serve basis. The UCHD encourages everyone, regardless if you have had the flu or not, to visit one of their locations to get vaccinated.

Students at BYU who do not usually receive the vaccination have been caught of guard this year.

“I have never had the flu shot, and I have never had the flu until this year. I got it twice, so I should probably get them in the future,” said Jen Hansen, a music major from Saratoga, Calif.

The BYU Student Health Center also has vaccinations for anyone who hasn’t received it this year. Dr. Keith Willmore, a family practitioner at the Health Center, discussed why this year’s outbreak has been so bad.

“This year has been particularly bad for the flu because the last couple of years people haven’t been getting their vaccinations,” he said. “When not as many people get the shot, a lot more people are susceptible. Influenza then spreads quicker and becomes more contagious.”

The vaccination itself has about a 60 percent protection rate for those who get the vaccinations, which is a lower percentage than in past years.

Even if you have had the flu, the UCHD encourages everyone to get the vaccination. For locations and times of the UCHD clinics, visit utahcountyhealth.org/flushots.

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