The Flu Season Epidemic
This year’s Influenza (flu) season is harsher than usual. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention have reported 30 children have been killed by the flu this season across the United States. With this death toll and the magnitude of flu cases across most of the United States, the U.S. is now dealing with the flu as an epidemic, affecting most of the country, with the exceptions of Guam, Hawaii, US Virgin Islands and the District of Colombia.
The CDC has stated that this is the first time in over a decade that 49 states in the U.S. have reported a continuous increase of flu cases at the same time. The CDC’s most recent reports of statistics for the week of January 13 has unveiled the hospitalization rate for the flu is 31.5 per 100,000 people. This is a growth as the previous week’s rate was 22.7 per 100,000.
CDC Director Brenda Fitzgerald has confirmed that the increase in flu activity is due to the H3N2 virus, which is the most common form of flu this season. The H3N2 virus is a more severe form of the flu and lasts for a longer period of time than other forms of the flu virus.
According to CDC Influenza Director Dan Jernigan, “Vaccination is our main tool to prevent flu infection and flu vaccination efforts should continue as long as flu viruses are circulating, but antiviral drugs are the most important tool for flu treatment,” according to CDC.
If you suspect you may be getting the flu, the CDC recommends washing your hands as much as possible and staying home until you feel better to prevent passing the virus to others. Some symptoms of the flu include fever, body aches, fatigue and stuffy nose.
The CDC is currently keeping a high surveillance on the flu epidemic across the U.S. and is reporting weekly statistics until the situation improves.
Helpful Tips To Prevent Getting the Flu
- Use hand sanitizer after touching doors, rails, and other public surfaces
- Wash your hands after coming into contact with someone who may be infected with the flu virus
- Get 7-8 hours of sleep a night
- Visit your doctor regularly
- Stay home and rest if you suspect you are getting sick to avoid further spreading of the virus to others
- If you do contract the virus, visit your doctor immediately and follow all instructions on your medication to ensure the virus will be cured from your system