Officials urge caution with flu

There have been as many as 11.4 million flu illnesses, 5.4 million medical visits and 136,000 flu hospitalizations between October 1, 2018 and January 19, 2019, according to the weekly flu report released Friday by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The latest Public Health England (PHE) report published at 2pm today, Thursday 24 January 2019, shows that seasonal flu continues to circulate across the United Kingdom, with early signs that activity is starting to peak.

The number of New Yorkers hospitalized by the flu during the past week was 786 a 12% increase from the last report.

Thirty-six states are now reporting widespread geographical flu activity.

There have been seven outbreaks in long-term care facilities investigated and seven schools across the state reported more than 10 percent absenteeism due to illness since the start of the flu season on August 30. Results are shared with the World Health Organization (WHO) to help determine how to formulate the flu vaccine for the following season.

One of the biggest mistakes that many of us make is to think that the flu is just a bad cold. Private schools have also closed in additional states, including in California, Florida, New Jersey, New York, Louisiana and West Virginia.

This year's influenza season to date has taken a less severe turn than the previous season, indicating to state public health officials more Iowans heeded the warnings to get a flu shot.

According to the BC CDC, the H1N1 virus tends to have the most effect children and non-elderly adults, while the H3N2 strain is more of a problem for the elderly. Vaccination remains the best method of protection against the influenza virus as it is effective in reducing the risk of disease, the severity of illness and the probability of death by 50 percent.

The Maine CDC says residents should also be vigilant about washing their hands, covering their mouths when they cough and staying home when they are sick. As long as flu is circulating in the area where you live, it is not too late to get vaccinated. Safe and effective flu vaccines are available and have been used for more than 60 years. To prevent the spread of flu infection, the DoH recommends that a person sick with influenza be provided with a separate room.

  • Aubrey Nash