Published: Wed, January 09, 2019
Health Care | By Cedric Leonard

Flu season could be less damaging, experts say

Flu season could be less damaging, experts say

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the flu has already spread in nearly half of the country, with 19 states reporting high levels of influenza-like illness activity.

"What I can tell you is that the people who have been hospitalized and the deaths that were associated with the flu this year are people who have not been immunized, a majority of them have not been immunized", said Dr. Jennifer Russell, chief medical officer of health for New Brunswick.

During the last week of December, Marion County emergency room visits related to influenza-like illness was at 2.70% - this is considered high.

"At the end of 2018, flu activity was high in New York City and 19 states, including most of the American southwest and New Jersey".

The CDC says flu activity in IN is now classified as widespread, but it's not too late in the season to protect yourself from the virus. Compared to previous year, this flu season appears to be less severe.

With the start of the new year, flu season has been picking up across the country.

De Blasio has a plan
He argued that preventative care and access to primary care doctors will cut down on emergency room visits. The program is available to anyone who does not have an affordable insurance option, de Blasio said.

"We're hoping its a good sign that it will be a less severe year but there's really no way to know until the season is over". H3N2, the strain largely responsible for last year's outbreak, has so far been less common than the H1N1 strain.

When possible, stay home if you get the flu.

The program would include activities such as providing public funds for seasonal influenza vaccines to cover individuals in the target group, and developing mechanisms for the implementation of immunization and reporting, the statement said.

It takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body that protect against the flu virus, so the earlier the shot is administered, the better. "It's the best protection that we have to give people against the flu", said Russell, adding that children and adolescents, adults with underlying lung or heart conditions and the elderly should make sure they are immunized.

Vaccines are available at doctors' offices, and many pharmacies provide free and low-priced flu vaccinations to the public.

Symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches and fatigue.

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