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Flu Cases On The Rise - Young People Hard Hit

A flu vaccine gets placed inside a needle.
Daniel Paquet | Flickr
Children can receive their flu vaccinations via injection, as shown, or through a nasal spray.

Health officials are urging residents to get the flu vaccination after a steep rise in the number of severe cases reported in both Missouri and Illinois.

This year’s most prevalent flu strain so far is H1N1 Type A. That strain hit the United States hard in 2009 and disproportionately affected young and middle-aged adults.

That seems to be the trend again, according to Dr. Faisal Khan, the director of Communicable Disease Control Services in the St. Louis County Health Department.

"They’re presenting at ERs, and urgent care facilities, and doctor’s offices with very severe symptoms. And we’ve seen a steady increase in the number of hospitalizations and complications arising out of influenza," he said.

For those who may have been vaccinated and still come down with the flu, Khan says the illness was likely much less severe than it would have been.

"If you do end up getting the flu despite the fact that you’re vaccinated, you’re likely to be back on your feet in a couple of days as opposed to a week or 10 days or two weeks," he said.

Khan and other health officials say since the flu season extends into April, it is not too late to get vaccinated.

The St. Louis County Health Department is holding three free vaccination clinics next week:

North Central Community Health Center
4000 Jennings Station Road in Pine Lawn (63121)
Tuesday, January 14th, 2014
12:00 p.m. (noon) to 4:00 p.m.

John C. Murphy Health Center
6121 North Hanley Road in Berkeley (63134)
Wednesday, January 15th, 2014
12:00 p.m. (noon) to 4:00 p.m.

South County Health Center
4580 South Lindbergh Boulevard in Sunset Hills (63127)
Thursday, January 16th, 2014
12:00 p.m. (noon) to 4:00 p.m.

Maria is the newscast, business and education editor for St. Louis Public Radio.