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Flu Taking Its Toll on EDs, Hospitals

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Image courtesy of WSET  AP

Though the strain is different from the one affecting humans (and no, it can't be transmitted) it's just as risky and even more contagious among dogs.

So far, this season has seen 30 pediatric deaths, and in the last week of 2017, the mortality rates from pneumonia and influenza shot above the normal flu epidemic threshold by 1.1 percent.

At Augusta Health alone, 484 cases have been reported of people diagnosed with the flu.

"In addition to the seasonal flu vaccine, everyday preventive actions such as staying away from sick people and washing your hands helps to protect you against the flu", Skaggs said. And now more than ever, doctors are encouraging everyone to get the flu shot.

The Centers for Disease Control reports that flu activity is widespread nationwide with "high flu activity" reported in 32 states plus New York City and Puerto Rico.

"It's a worse-than-average flu season but still within the range of what we've seen in previous years", Madoff said. "Especially since she's just a puppy and hasn't even seen a whole year of life yet", one pet owner said.

Is it the same flu strain causing the deaths or are they different strains?

Last week the CDC announced the entire continental US has demonstrated widespread flu activity as of Saturday, Jan. 6.

While the flu can resemble a cold, there are a few symptoms unique to the flu, including a fever that lasts a few days and body aches and chills.

In 2014, 147 children died from the flu, a lot of them from H3N2. Dogs are particularly susceptible to carrying and spreading the disease; some may be infectious but show no symptoms, spreading the disease as they go. Former CDC Director Tom Frieden, who was at the CDC's helm during the 2013 government shutdown, told NPR on January 21 that the shutdown could mean less preparedness and slower response rates to flu complications across the country.

It is no secret that this year's influenza season is frighteningly severe Stories of patients stricken with this infection are becoming a regular feature in the news.

There are flu vaccines available.

Stay home for at least 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medicine if have flu-like symptoms.

This particular strain of the flu virus (H3N2) that has infected many USA citizens, is known for its ability to avoid protection supplied by vaccinations. Once you have the flu, try to take care of yourself and get plenty of sleep.

Russ Grant, director of infection prevention at Fox Hospital, said this season there have been six laboratory confirmed cases of flu at Fox, one at the nursing home and three at Cobleskill Regional Hospital.

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