“Flu is everywhere in the U.S. right now,” said Dan Jernigan, director for influenza division at the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases.
Flu season is here and it’s shaping up to be the worst in recent years, with widespread activity happening across the entire country, with the acceptation of Hawaii. Dan also had this to say concerning the widespread outbreak, “This is the first year we have had the entire continental U.S. be the same color on the graph, meaning there is widespread activity in all of the continental U.S. at this point.”
According to reports to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, this year’s flu virus is widespread in 46 starts and as of mid-December, at least 106 people have died from it. Across the country, states are reporting higher than normal flu-related hospitalizations and emergency room visits, with Missouri dealing with more than 40,000 flu cases. Even in the warmer states, like California, the virus struck early this season, with at least 27 deaths reported of people under the age of 65.
Flu season usually starts in October and wraps up in May, peaking between the months of December and February. Out of every 100,000 hospitalizations in the U.S., 22.7 were because of the flu in the first week of January. These hospitalizations visits are highest among people older than 50 and children younger than 5.
Randy Bergen, a pediatrician who is leading the anti-flu effort for Kaiser Permanente-Northern California had this to say, “We’re seeing the worst of it right now.”
This is from a recent article in Fortune Magazine:
The CDC is starting to see infections caused by the H1N1 strain of the virus in states grappling with high levels of the H3N2 strain, the predominant version this season. In addition, Jernigan said yet another type of flu, caused by the influenza B viruses, is still expected to show up later in the season.
The U.S. saw more than 700,000 hospitalizations during the 2014-2015 flu season, and experts are saying that the 2017-2018 outbreak is closely paralleling that. Though it’s impossible to predict what the result will be until the end of the season.
It’s Not Too Late To Get Your Shot, And You Should
Flu vaccines help ease the severity and duration of symptoms if you do come down with the flu. As previous stated, children are highly vulnerable to the virus, and studies show that a shot can reduce the risk of the effects, and dying from it. The CDC reported that over 100 children died of flu-related illness in the 2016-2017 season.
For older people, high-dose vaccines are recommended. They, like children, are also highly vulnerable to the illness. They are amongst the highest to be hospitalized because of the virus.
Shots are available from your doctor, local pharmacy, or healthcare facility. But before you choose where to go, it’s important to make sure this places are clean, sterile, and safe.
Hospitals outbreaks are not uncommon, and without proper containment of those affected seriously with the flu virus within the facility, it can put you at risk. Reviewing and gathering information about hospitals or your local health clinic could save your life. Everything from the rooms to the equipment must be sterile and safe.
It’s vital to take the proper precautions to protect yourself and your family. Things like washing your hands, covering your mouth after coughing, and avoid touching areas such as your mouth, eyes, and nose.
Work can be a breeding ground for illness if proper precautions are not taken into account. Be sure that if you are sick, inform your boss and stay home if you are able. In addition, drinking plenty of water, eating nutritional foods, and exercising will contribute and boost to your immune system.
Also, if you can, avoid sick people. This is something to keep into account when visiting a hospital to receive your flu shot, or for any other medical reason. In places where sick people are common, you are susceptible to outbreaks.
Available flu vaccines should be taken, but keep in mind to may take a 1 to 2 weeks to become effective. This will increase the odds of not only not getting the flu, but also prevent the further spreading of the disease to more vulnerable groups such as young children, the elderly, and those with preexisting medical conditions.