H1N1 flu vaccine extra important to middle-aged and young adults
It's usually the very young and seniors who face the highest risks with flu. But this season, it's skewing to the middle.
"It's not too late to get a flu shot," said Dr. Joan Duwve, chief medical officer at the Indiana State Department of Health.
A 25-year-old Hoosier's flu death helps make that point. The South Bend mother died last week. Her family says she did not get a flu shot.
This year's vaccine targets the H1N1 virus and others. Some Hospital ERs, like St. Vincent, tell us they're seeing more pediatric patients with flu symptoms than adults.
But the adult cases may be the more complicated ones.
"Nationally, we're seeing some severe cases of influenza, some in that young adult population," said Dr. Duwve. "We've had three deaths in Indiana."
Two of those Hoosier victims were under 49 years old, including the South Bend mother. The third was between 50 and 64 years of age.
"You're kidding. Wow," said one northsider in that same age group heading into a drug store Tuesday night.
"I think it goes after everybody. It's a more virulent strain, so even young healthy people can get very, very sick, very, very quickly from it," St. Vincent emergency room Dr. Michael Khouli said.
"That's a little frightening. We've had our flu shots. That's how serious we're taking it," said another drugstore shopper.
"It's hard to tell, hard to predict who will end up with a very serious case of complications," said pediatrician Dr. Eric Yancy.
Yancy says he's seeing H1N1 in his patients, especially the older children. But no serious cases. H1N1 cases can be complicated, though.
"Bacterial complications, MRSA, pneumonia, they can be devastating. Do everything you can to keep from getting the prime infection in the first case," Dr. Yancy says. And that means "getting the flu shot."
"With little ones around, more apt to get the flu, definitely considering it this year," said another shopper.
But many in the vulnerable H1N1 age group don't get the point of the needle.
"I don't even get sick," one 25-year-old shopper told Eyewitness News.