Published: Mon, December 09, 2019
Health Care | By Cedric Leonard

Flu Season Hitting Early

Flu Season Hitting Early

An early barrage of illness in the South has begun to spread more broadly, and there's a decent chance flu season could peak much earlier than normal, health officials say.

Although the weekly number of flu cases is still relatively low, those eligible to receive a vaccine should do so as soon as possible to have better protection before the peak period arrives, the CDC said. However, a team of researchers from NY are rethinking how vaccines target the virus in the hopes that a universal flu vaccine may someday become a reality. Some 143 influenza-associated pediatric deaths have been reported to the CDC so for the 2018-2019 flu season.

The state's Department of Public Health reported that 5.31 percent of Georgia outpatient visits were reported as influenza-like illnesses during the week ending November 30. "The flu shot protects you and those around you by making it less likely you'll get sick if you're exposed to the virus, and if you do get ill, you'll tend to have fewer days of symptoms and they'll be less severe".

Federal health officials said the last flu season to rev up this early was in 2003-2004 and it was bad one.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) yesterday said the second phase of government-funded flu vaccinations is to begin today for people 65 years or older and preschool children. If you won't get immunized for yourself, do it for those around you, including older adults, young children and family members with conditions like asthma, heart disease or diabetes.

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The last influenza report issued by the department in mid-November showed elevated activity of flu in every county around the state except for Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego and Imperial counties. But the hospital has not had any deaths and is not seeing many serious complications, she said.

The most intense patient traffic had been occurring in a six states stretching from Texas to Georgia.

The CDC has established a specialized flu prevention Web site (https://antiflu.cdc.gov.tw) that provides contact information, addresses and maps, as well as opening hours of healthcare facilities where eligible vaccine receivers can get vaccinated near their homes, Chuang said.

Last year's flu season extended into April and was the longest in a decade.

The CDC estimates that there have already been 1.7 million flu illnesses, 16,000 hospitalizations, and 900 flu-related deaths nationally. It ended with around 49,000 flu-related deaths and 590,000 hospitalizations, according to preliminary estimates.

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