Influenza activity is at widespread level now – but at less than half the rate of last year. There have been 863 confirmed cases of the flu reported the week of January 13-19, with a total of 6,603 cases this season. Yavapai County has had only 80 confirmed cases, with folks 50+ being most affected – and likely going to the doctor and being tested. Many people do not go to the doctor, or get tested, so the flu has a higher prevalence than this indicates.
The CDC reports widespread flu activity in 30 states. The states with high flu activity include: Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, and Oklahoma. The CDC says 19 children have died related to flu this season. Most are associated with the A H1N1 strain of the virus.
Last year’s flu season was one of the worst on record, with the highest death toll in decades. U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams, MD, said an estimated 80,000 Americans died of flu and its complications and about 900,000 landed in the hospital.
While seniors were hit the hardest last season, it was also hard on children. Thousands of U.S. children had been hospitalized and 180 kids had died of flu-related causes. Among the children who died, about 80% had not had a flu shot, according to the CDC.
It’s never too late to get a vaccination through the flu season. Most of the flu activity peaks between December and February and the season sometimes lasts until May. It takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies that protect against flu to develop in the body, so act soon! Call to schedule an appointment to get one now at 771-3122.
What are common symptoms of the flu?
They usually come more suddenly than cold symptoms. They include fever, feeling feverish, the chills, having a cough, sore throat, runny nose, muscle or body aches, headache, and fatigue. Less common are vomiting and diarrhea. Children are more likely to have vomiting and diarrhea than adults are, the CDC says.
Not everyone with the flu has a fever.
What should I do I if I think I am getting the flu?
Stay home, rest, and avoid contact with others except to get medical care if needed, experts say. Avoid contact with others for at least 24 hours after the fever subsides to avoid spreading the flu.
If you think you might have the flu and you or someone you will be exposed to is at high risk for complications, contact your health care provider as soon as you develop symptoms. He or she can perform a flu test or diagnose you based on your symptoms and determine the best course of treatment for you.
Arizona Department of Health Services now has a dashboard for the 2018-2019 Influenza Season with up-to-date stats on cases: https://www.azdhs.gov/preparedness/epidemiology-disease-control/flu/index.php#surveillance-home.