According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, hospitalization rates for influenza cases in the United States are the highest on record. That’s scary. What can you do?

First, get the flu shot. It’s not too late. The vaccine will protect you, especially from the strains coming later in the flu season. It will also reduce the symptoms should you get the flu. Drink lots of fluids, get plenty of sleep and wash your hands. Touching your eyes, nose or mouth introduces infections, so keep your hands clean.

What do you do if you get the flu anyway? Stay away from other people; cover your coughs and sneezes. Don’t spread the virus. If you are in a high-risk group — over 65 or pregnant — get to the doctor. Many have contracted a secondary infection of pneumonia. Your health is in your hands.

I cannot say enough about the Veterans Affairs (VA). It is constantly working to improve its services to our veterans.

It collaborated with Cohen Veterans Network (CVN) to increase veteran access to mental health services to reduce veteran suicides. The VA has also worked with DeepMind to focus on a system to identify risk factors for patient deterioration, recognizing common signs of risk to prevent later complications, and early prevention.

With this being said, there are still those who have not gotten involved with the VA. They are missing an important step in their future health care. Please contact the VA or your local representative.

The CPN Veterans Organization meets around 6 p.m. the fourth Tuesday of each month in the North Reunion Hall on the Potawatomi Powwow Grounds near Shawnee. All CPN and spouse veterans and their families are welcome. A meal is provided.

(Thank you),

Daryl Talbot