U.S. flu season worsens, has "a lot more steam" than expected

Kristen Gonzales
January 23, 2018

The flu season typically starts in October and can last as late as May.

Deb Minor, Yates County's public health director, said the county saw its first confirmed case on December 13 but since Christmas has seen a substantial increase, with 31 cases of influenza A and six of influenza B.

Flu activity has increased throughout the United States as of the second week of January, the CDC said Friday. This year's vaccines - the CDC recommends the injection instead of the nasal spray - are around 30 percent effective this year. In some states, like SC, the Department of Health and Environmental Control requires dialysis patients to get a flu shot.

The good news for the islands: Hawaii remains the only state that doesn't have widespread illnesses.

If you've been feeling like garbage with flu symptoms, you're not alone. With the flu, your doctor might prescribe antibiotics or other medications, and hospitalization may be required in more severe cases. Then, in late December and early January, the epidemic appeared to be striking nearly everywhere in the country at the same time - giving the agency's flu map an unusually uniform look.

Ray said the flu outbreak isn't confined to Bowling Green.

Is there anything unusual about this year's flu virus?

Dog flu, also known as canine influenza, causes primarily respiratory issues. These viruses are often linked to more severe illness, especially among children and people age 65 and older. "It's not possible to predict what viruses will be most predominant during the upcoming season".

In Oklahoma and Texas, some school districts canceled classes this week because so many students and teachers were sick with the flu and other illnesses.

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Who is most at risk? This was followed by adults ages 50-64, who also experienced increases from the week-ago report (33.2 per 100,000 versus 24.0 per 100,000, respectively). Throughout CDC, more than 8,500 employees would be furloughed.

Children are considered highly vulnerable to the disease.

In normal years, influenza impacts approximately 9.5 million Americans, forces around 140,000 hospitalizations and causes an estimated 12,000 deaths, according to the CDC.

Dallas County has reported 40 flu-related deaths so far this season. Ten influenza-related deaths in children were reported through the week ending on January 13, bringing the total flu-related pediatric deaths to 30. Final counts were 148 in 2014-2015; 92 in 2015-2016; and 110 in 2016-2017. Most dogs contract a mild form of the virus and only require supportive care to recover. More information can be found on their website.

Californian health authorities said Friday that flu fatalities among Californians under 65 this year has risen to a record 74, which highlighted a serious epidemic that USA scientists say could easily be spread by simply breathing. "So just by talking with someone, unless there's a lot of droplets occurring, it is through coughing and sneezing, though it is highly contagious". No word on whether that will impact efforts to curb the flu and protect people.

The plan said the CDC would "continue minimal support to protect the health and well-being of USA citizens here and overseas".

"First and foremost, get the flu shot", said Woodward Health Department Director Terri Salisbury.

Masks aren't particularly effective in keeping you from catching the flu, although they may help keep sick people who wear them from spreading their germs.

Symptoms include high fever, cough, headache/ muscle aches, tiredness, sore throat and congestion.

Other reports by TheSundaySentinel

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