Health Care

Flu bug batters US; South Dakota not immune

Flu Deaths in San Diego County Reach New High

Influenza is widespread through every state except Hawaii, although the season hasn't officially peaked here yet due to the islands' geographic isolation.

Lee Health says that if you're suffering from flu-like symptoms, to visit your primary care physician, or a walk-in or urgent care center. "It makes sense right now to take precautions and do what we can do to protect everyone". Plus, can help you locate a pharmacy giving flu shots close by.

It's not too late to get vaccinated - even halfway through flu season. Out of the 47,689 specimens that tested positive for influenza, 82.9% were influenza A. In its most recent surveillance report, the CDC reported 22.7 hospitalizations per 100,000 people in the United States and 20 pediatric deaths associated with influenza. Nationwide, 26 states are reporting high influenza-like illness activity, according to the CDC.

While many healthy individuals who are infected with the flu will recover without issue, infants, toddlers, and those ages 65 years and older are at greater risk for developing serious complications. While the numbers seem to be soaring this year, it is possible Missouri is hitting an early peak this flu season. This season got off to an early start and cases surged over the holidays.

At this time a year ago, only 561 people had been tested for flu at the hospital.

Pneumonia is just one unsafe illness that, when coupled with the flu, could lead to death.

The bivalent vaccine provides protection against both the H3N8 and H3N2 strands of virus.

"I've had patients that have had that happen to them and it's not very fun, but typically if you have had the vaccine, it's much less severe and it doesn't last as long", he said. Last year, the flu vaccine was 39 percent effective.

A flu vaccination is recommended for everyone older than 6 months, especially pregnant women, the elderly, and anyone with a weakened immune system.

"Because this appears to be a particularly bad year, it's just really, really important that everybody get immunized", Berreman said.

Dale County Medical Center Chief Nursing Officer Donna Calloway said DCMC is being affected by the increase in flu cases, though the hospital is still able to accept patients.