New flu strain targeting 'young, healthy' population
MILWAUKEE -- Peak flu season is still several weeks away, but health officials are already concerned by a surge in young people showing up in area hospitals with serious cases of the sickness.
City of Milwaukee Health Director Paul Biedrzycki blames part of this on a reluctance among the so-called "young, healthy" population to seek health care.
"Younger adults of course think they can ride out the flu and feel fairly invincible," Biedrzycki said.
What they need to know, he said, is this year's flu strain seems to be particularly nasty for those on the middle end of the age spectrum.
While the biggest concern in past years has been for the young and elderly, the H1N1 strain seen this year is hitting the 25 to 50 age group hard.
In Milwaukee, 41 people in that age range have needed hospital care since the flu season began in October. That is an increase over the 29 people in the age range who required hospitalization last year.
Even if they're not concerned for their own health, Biedrzycki reminds people to think of others they make come in contact with and get the flu shot.
"They don't realize the flu is highly contagious and even if they don't want to protect themselves, they're spreading it to others," he said.