Not Your Regular Flu Virus
Jul 5, 2019
The flu seems to have grabbed everyone's attention this winter. That's because the U.S. is being hit with one of the worst flu seasons in years. Forty-five states are reporting widespread illness, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That's four times as many as last year. Experts warn that young children are particularly vulnerable.
Of course, we want all our Concorde students, faculty, staff and their families to remain safe and healthy. So we thought we'd take some time to impart some health care awareness about what this flu season means, how to deal with it and, most important, how to avoid it and remain healthy.
Maintaining health care awareness about this season's flu
"The flu is very dangerous," Dr. Claire Bhocchini, an infectious disease specialist at Texas Children Hospital, said in the article. "It's not your regular virus that gives you a couple of days of a runny nose."
CBS News medical contributor Dr. Tara Narula said the strain of flu that's spreading this season, H3N2, tends to hit younger and older people harder than others.
Thirteen children across the U.S. already have died of the flu this season.
The CDC estimates that since 2010, flu-related hospitalizations among children younger than 5 ranged from 7,000 to 26,000 a year in the U.S. Since the 2004-05 flu season, between 37 and 171 children have died of the flu each year.
Adults age 65 and older also are at higher risk.
"We've seen 675 cases of flu over the last two weeks," Dr. Stephen Epner of Physicians Immediate Care told CBS. "It seems like it's about 30-50 percent worse than the previous 2-3 years."
Health care awareness about prevention of flu
To help reduce the risk of catching or spreading the flu, health officials are encouraging frequent hand-washing throughout the day. The single best way to protect children and adults from the flu is to get a flu shot. According to the CDC, everyone six months of age and older should get a seasonal flu vaccine each year. And, even though the flu season is already underway, it's never too late to get the shot.
"Right now the CDC is estimating that the vaccine effectiveness is at about 32 percent," Dr. Jennifer Layden, chief medical officer at the Illinois Department of Public Health, said. "While it's not 100 percent, it is still effective for a significant proportion of the population."
"Even if you get the flu, with a vaccine, it's milder, you're less likely to go to the hospital and you're contagious for a shorter amount of time."
Try to avoid contact with sick people. If you become sick, stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities. Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Avoid rubbing your nose and mouth with your hands.
Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that might be contaminated with germs like the flu. Do all these things, and you have a good chance of remaining healthy and safe throughout the rest of flu season.
Good luck and good health.