Daily Health Headlines

Flu: Bad Season Getting Worse

👤by WebMD 0 comments 🕔Tuesday, January 6th, 2015

By Ashley Hayes

Reviewed by Arefa Cassoobhoy, MD, MPH

Jan. 5, 2015 -- The flu is increasing in intensity and spreading throughout much of the country, the CDC said in its weekly flu update.

And it will get worse before it gets better.

"Flu activity is expected to continue in the coming weeks, with increases occurring especially in those states that have not yet had significant activity," according to the CDC.

"Nationally, the country is likely to continue to experience several more weeks of flu activity. ... Most of the northeast and west of the country has yet to experience the full brunt of the flu season."

Only one state, Hawaii, reported "sporadic" flu activity through Dec. 27, according to the agency. Six more -- California, Oregon, Nevada, Arizona, Alaska, and Maine -- reported significant activity, along with Puerto Rico. The flu was at "widespread" levels in the other 43 states, an increase from 36 the previous week.

Another six flu-associated deaths of children were reported, bringing the total to 21 this season. With the exception of the 2009 flu pandemic, deaths of children from the flu have ranged from 37 to 171 since 2004-2005, when they began to be reported, the CDC said.

The CDC doesn't track adult deaths from the flu. But the number of deaths in which pneumonia or influenza was listed -- which was at an "epidemic threshold" for the week ending Dec. 20 -- has declined this week. It's "once again below the epidemic threshold," the agency says. The flu season is said to have reached epidemic levels when the proportion of deaths attributed to pneumonia and the flu reaches a certain level. That threshold changes week to week.

Get Vaccinated, Officials Say

This year's dominant flu strain is H3N2, a type of the flu virus that tends to be more serious, officials have said. It's also "drifted" from the strains included in the flu vaccine, meaning the vaccine is not as effective as hoped.

Seasons dominated by H3 viruses tend to have more hospitalizations and deaths, CDC Director Tom Frieden, MD, said last year.

So far, H3N2 viruses account for more than 95% of all flu cases reported to the CDC this season.

Although the vaccine hasn't worked as well as hoped, health officials continue to recommend it. It still can prevent infection with some flu strains and flu-related complications in some people. Also, it's common for there to be two waves of flu activity during a typical season, with the second caused by a different flu virus, the CDC says. As of early November, only 40% of people in the U.S. reported getting a flu vaccine this year.

Health officials also recommend antiviral drugs to treat the flu in some people, including children or those who are very ill or at risk of flu-related complications. The drugs can help shorten the length of the flu and make it less severe. But media reports suggest that at least one of those drugs, Tamiflu, might be in short supply in some areas.

Article Credits / Source


WebMD provides up to the minute breaking health news. Click here to view this full article from WebMD.

SOURCES: CDC: "FluView Weekly Report Summary." Press release, CDC.

View More Articles From WebMD 🌎View Article Website

Sponsored Product

Lunar Sleep for $1.95

Lunar Sleep for $1.95

People who have trouble sleeping typically have low levels of melatonin, so melatonin supplements seem like a logical fix for insomnia. There is a high demand for sleep aids, especially in the U.S. The National Health Interview Survey done in 2002, and again in 2007, found 1.6 million US adults were using complementary and alternative sleep aids for insomnia. Lunar Sleep was a top choice. Use Promo Code: Sleep2014 and only pay $1.95 S&H.

Get Lunar Sleep for $1.95

More Cold & Flu Articles

Are You Ready for Flu Season?

Are You Ready for Flu Season?0

FRIDAY, Nov. 18, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- With flu season right around the corner, U.S. health officials are urging everyone to get their flu shot now so they'll be protected from the potentially serious complications of influenza. "The fact ...

Flu (Influenza)

Flu (Influenza)0

Flu Treatment What to Do if You Get the Flu If you get the flu, there are treatments that can reduce both the intensity and duration of your suffering: Over-the-counter medications such as pain relievers, decongestants, and antihistamines ...

Health Tip: Recognize Signs of Strep Throat

Health Tip: Recognize Signs of Strep Throat0

(HealthDay News) -- Strep throat is a contagious infection caused by streptococcal bacteria. Your doctor will prescribe an antibiotic, which you must finish to make sure the infection is killed completely. The U.S. Centers for Disease ...

Do Your Part to Stop Spreading Colds and Flu

Do Your Part to Stop Spreading Colds and Flu0

MONDAY, Nov. 7, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- It's easy to spread germs that cause colds, flu and other serious illnesses, including whooping cough and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). That's why you need to protect yourself and take steps ...

amoxicillin (Amoxil, Moxatag, Larotid)

amoxicillin (Amoxil, Moxatag, Larotid)0

home / cold and flu center / cold and flu a-z list / amoxicillin index / amoxicillin (amoxil, moxatag, larotid) drug monograph Pharmacy Author: Omudhome Ogbru, PharmD Omudhome Ogbru, PharmDDr. Ogbru ...

View More Cold & Flu Articles


Write a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Our Mailing List

Subscribe to our mailing list to get the latest health news as it breaks!

Your information will not be shared with anyone!