The 2019-2020 season is underway and according to the CDC, all regions of the country are seeing elevated levels of flu-like illness with over 1,000 deaths reported.
Activity is being caused mostly by influenza B/Victoria viruses, which is unusual for this time of year. A/H1N1 viruses are the next most common and are increasing in proportion relative to other influenza viruses in some regions.
CDC estimates that so far this season there have been at least 2.6 million flu illnesses, 23,000 hospitalizations and 1,300 deaths from flu.
According to the CDC, it’s not too late to get vaccinated as flu vaccination is always the best way to prevent flu and its potentially serious complications.
Antiviral medications are an important adjunct to flu vaccine in the control of influenza. Almost all (>99%) of the influenza viruses tested this season are susceptible to the 4 FDA-approved influenza antiviral medications recommended for use in the U.S. this season.
During the week ending December 7th, the following influenza activity was reported:
Widespread – 23 states (Alabama, Arizona, California, Connecticut, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and Washington)
Regional – Puerto Rico and 14 states (Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, New Jersey, Ohio, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Utah and Wisconsin)
Local – 12 states (Delaware, Hawaii, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Missouri, New Hampshire, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont, West Virginia and Wyoming)
Influenza (flu) is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. It can cause mild to severe illness. Serious outcomes of flu infection can result in hospitalization or death. Some people, such as older people, young children, and people with certain health conditions, are at high risk of serious flu complications. There are two main types of influenza (flu) virus: Types A and B. The influenza A and B viruses that routinely spread in people (human influenza viruses) are responsible for seasonal flu epidemics each year.
Flu signs and symptoms usually come on suddenly. People who are sick with flu often feel some or all of these symptoms:
Fever (sometimes) or feeling feverish/chills
Runny or stuffy nose
Muscle or body aches
Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children.
Ways to stop the spread of germs
-Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
-While sick, limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them.
-If you are sick with flu-like illness, CDC recommends that you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities. (Your fever should be gone for 24 hours without the use of a fever-reducing medicine.)
-Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. After using a tissue, throw it in the trash and wash your hands.
-Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
-Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs spread this way.
-Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs like flu.