Flu season arrives early with widespread outbreaks in 36 states

Flu hits hard this season     So far sends 49 to hospital in AHS Central Zone
    Susan ZielinskiDec. 29 2017 1:15

According to the CDC, as of last week, 36 states have widespread flu activity up from the 23 states the week before.

As of this week, there was "high activity" of the flu - the highest prevalence ranking - in almost half of the US. Flu vaccinations are available at your primary care doctor's office, many local pharmacies or the Chautauqua County Department of Health & Human Services' Public Health Clinics. Also, the influenza vaccine effectiveness is generally lower against the A (H3N2) strain.

Also, according to CDC, the proportion of people seeing their health care provider for influenza-like illness [ILI] was 5 percent nationally, as of the week ending December 23.

"With the immunized groups, we found that using this conserved component of the virus gave them 100 percent protection against a previous circulating influenza virus that didn't match the vaccine", Fuller said.

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In California alone, Montrose's Adventist Health Urgent Care has seen the amount of patients with flu-like symptoms double compared to past year at the same time, with majority testing positive for the virus.

And worryingly its symptoms are identical to those of a normal flu - sore throat, headache, fever, muscle ache, runny nose, sneezing and fatigue.

In the last seven days alone 1,111 people have been hit by flu - a shocking increase of 156%. While sick, limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them.

¯ Keep your hands away from your eyes, nose and mouth. Additionally, everyone should do not forget to thoroughly wash their hands throughout the day, avoid touching their face area and other orifices without reason, and to stay warm in colder weather to prevent the virus from replicating more quickly. While it seems like the cards are already stacked against it, there have been cold winters before that haven't resulted in higher-than-normal flu numbers.

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The health department can bill insurance, but it also can serve those without insurance as well as those who are under-insured, Keller said.

The fatal disease, which can be fought with rest, sleep, keeping warm, taking paracetamol or ibuprofen and drinking plenty of water, can lead to pneumonia and other potentially deadly health complications. Symptoms may also include vomiting and diarrhea in children. "People become protected about two weeks after receiving the vaccine", said Taylor.

"It's not too late to get a flu shot and everyone six months or older can still get one", says Dr. Silvers.

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