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Tuesday Editorial: Don't ignore the dangers of the flu season

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Biologist Rebecca Gillespie holds a vial of flu-fighting antibodies Dec. 19 at the Vaccine Research Center at the National Institutes of Health Tuesday in Bethesda Md. Despite 100 years of science the flu virus too often beats our best defenses because

As of January 6, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reported "widespread" flu activity in 49 states.

So far this year, there have been 91 flu-related deaths in San Diego County compared with 58 in 2009, the year of the global pandemic. "The population saw a lot of H1N1-like influenza in the period from about 1918 to, say, 1957".

Medical Center Barbour is now reporting all influenza-related cases with a presumed diagnosis of novel influenza A virus to the Alabama Department of Public Health within 24 hours.

"I don't believe we're at peak activity yet". "However, this major seasonal flu situation has not affected our facility and we are now operating under normal standard procedures, at a very steady and busy pace".

Since the start of flu season on October 1, local hospitals recorded more than 1,650 positive flu cases, compared to about 350 during the same time period last flu season.

The flu season in Wisconsin hasn't been almost as bad as the 2014-2015 flu season, which peaked at about 3,200 people infected with the flu requiring hospitalization the third week in January.

Avoid crowds and stay home as much as possible.

But they say the shot is still a big part of prevention.

Although prescription flu medications do an outstanding job, you need to start taking the medicine within the first 48 hours of symptoms showing up to receive any benefit from the medication.

The main strains circulating continue to be flu A (H3N2), A (H1N1) and Flu B. The CDC is also considering the disease to be an epidemic, based on its medical impact. This year, estimates say the vaccine is about 30 percent effective.

So far there has been one death associated with influenza as a result of these outbreaks.

Despite the vaccine's imperfection, health officials are still aggressively advocating for everyone to get vaccinated.

If you do not have these symptoms but are concerned, call your regular healthcare provider. Among the excuses for not getting the annual shot: that the vaccination actually gives people the flu. An annual vaccine can help prevent the flu and limit its complications.

As many as 646,000 people die globally from seasonal influenza each year, USA health officials said in December, a rise from earlier assessments of the disease's death toll.

The people most likely to be hospitalized for flu-related complications are those aged 65 and older, but individuals of all ages with chronic illnesses (such as diabetes and heart disease) and/or weakened immune systems are also at increased risk, as are pregnant women and young children.

People are advised to catch coughs and sneezes in a tissue, bin it, and then wash their hands afterwards to kill the germs. In addition to the vaccine, people should take every day preventive actions such as washing their hands often, staying home if they are sick with the flu and coughing in their sleeve as opposed to their hands. That's wrong. Getting the shot is even more important when effectiveness dips.

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