Health Officials: Winter Flu Season In Full Force

flu seasonThe winter flu season in the U.S. has already kicked into gear – earlier than ever in the last 15 years.

Health officials said it began with a slew of illnesses in the South where it spread quickly and now the flu season could have an earlier than a typical peak.

According to the latest FluView from the CDC, half of the country is experiencing moderate to high levels of flu activity. The season lasts an average of 14 weeks, and people are still encouraged to get their flu vaccination.

In 2003/2004, the flu season kicked off early, and it was a particularly bad one. According to some experts, an early start usually means a plethora of suffering, but others are a bit more cautious, saying it’s too early to know for sure.

Scott Epperson, who works with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and tracks flu-like diseases, said it’s all dependent on the circulating viruses. The trend isn’t predictable – if earlier outbreaks mean more severe ones or late outbreaks mean less severe.

There are all kinds of flu viruses, and the one affecting the most areas of the country is surprising, as it’s the one that doesn’t hit until March or April.

This virus is not as perilous to the older population, which is excellent news because the majority of flu hospitalizations and deaths happen in the elderly and winter. These viruses, however, are detrimental for kids and people 50 and younger.

It was Louisiana that became the first state to experience a swath of flu cases. Doctors said they began to see flu numbers rise in October.

Toni Gross, Children’s Hospital New Orleans said there have been more flu cases this fall than they saw in winter. Gross said the hospital’s emergency room was the busiest it had ever been. A triage system and additional shifts had to be arranged.

She said the symptoms would lay people up for at least a week with a fever, diarrhea and vomiting. While the hospital has had no deaths contributing to the flu, it’s also not seeing major complications either.

Health officials consider the flu season to be official when there has been a period of three weeks of flu-like activity. According to the CDC, there have been 1.7 million flu-like illnesses with 16,000 hospitalizations and 900 flu-related fatalities.

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Posted by on Dec 10 2019. Filed under Featured, Health, New. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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