File under "N" for no coincidence: 1) This year's influenza season has hit the 18- to 64-year-old age group harder than in recent years. 2) According to the Centers for Disease Control, that age group tends to have the lowest vaccination rates.
No matter your age, if you don't get an annual flu shot, you are at higher risk of contracting the disease — it's as simple as that.
People younger than 65 sometimes think influenza is not a problem for them, and in terms of needing hospital care, they're generally right: In Connecticut this season, the most flu-related hospitalizations have been of people older than 65.
But for all people, flu is no joke, and it is certainly not just "a bad cold." This season, previously healthy people have died of the flu in Texas, California and elsewhere, according to the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases. Those between 25 and 64 account for more than half of flu deaths this winter, the CDC says.
Officials also report that the H1N1 strain, sometimes known as "swine flu," is predominant this year. This year's vaccine is designed to protect against it.
Vaccination, it should be noted, is important but not foolproof; so far this season, it has been 61 percent effective, says the CDC. Still, that's no reason for anyone not to get extra protection, however imperfect it may be.
Flu season is not over, and medical officials are still urging those who have not yet received a shot to get vaccinated. There's still a lot of influenza around.