Have you or a family member come down with the flu yet?

Massachusetts has seen a record number of residents who’ve developed the flu this season and here on the SouthCoast the numbers are running very high, and that’s had an impact on everything from school attendance to being away from the job.

On Friday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that between 6.2 million and 7.3 million people in the United States have developed the flu so far. This is the first time the agency has given out an in-season estimate of national flu cases.

Anywhere between 3 and 3.5 million people have seen a doctor because of severe flu symptoms since October and over 75,000 people have been hospitalized because of the virus.

Last season's flu shot was only 40 percent effective, and only 37 percent of adults got vaccinated. Even in a good year, the flu shot is only 50 percent effective. Isn't that like flipping a coin? The result, experts say is an estimated 80,000 Americans died during last year's remarkably severe flu season, which was the deadliest in more than four decades.

That said, why can’t scientists come up with a better, more effective formula?

If you haven't come down with the flu, how do you keep from getting sick? Do you sanitize your hands often?

In the meantime, beware of the coffee pot handle or the start button on the copy machine at the office. They rarely get wiped down.

Phil Paleologos is the host of The Phil Paleologos Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from 6 am to 10 am. Contact him at phil@wbsm.com and follow him on Twitter @PhilPaleologos. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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