Published: Fri, March 15, 2019
Medical | By

Flu season is not over yet

Flu season is not over yet

The CDC recently estimated the vaccine "reduced the risk of medically attended influenza-related illness by nearly half (47 percent) in vaccinated people this year".

Last season, an estimated 80,000 Americans died of flu and its complications, the disease's highest death toll in at least four decades.

This flu season has marked a return to more typical numbers after last year's widespread outbreak of the virus, which prompted the federal Centers for Disease Control to classify the virus as "high severity across all age groups" in the US for the first time. There were a total of 23 adult deaths in Douglas county and no pediatric deaths past year according to their 2017-2018 flu season report.

As March began, many believed that flu season was on its way out.

The highest hospitalization rate is among adults 65 years and older at 107.7 hospitalizations per 100,000 population.

Hospitalization rates are a lot lower than last season, the CDC said.

But what's concerning is that more and more cases are involving a unsafe strain of the virus. But for the past two weeks, more illnesses have been tied to a more severe strain, H3N2, the CDC reports.

For the second week, the more severe H3N2 strain of the virus caused most new cases. For adults, the proportion of deaths attributed to pneumonia and influenza during the week ending February 23 was 7.5%, slightly above the usual threshold of 7.3% for this time of year.

"All of these viruses, but particularly H3N2, have a tendency to try to put you in the hospital and set you up for a secondary case of pneumonia".

"If you become sick, please call your health care provider, because they may well provide a prescription for antiviral drugs that can help reduce the severity and duration of your illness", Schaffner said.

This is so even though you cannot catch the same strain twice, because you can get another strain if you are not immunized.

Cutler added it can take up to two weeks after receiving the shot to build up immunity, so it is preferable to get the shot as soon as possible.

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