Dr KK Aggarwal
New Delhi, January 16, 2018: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has declared H3N2 flu as an epidemic in US. The rate of hospitalizations for pneumonia and the flu is continuing to climb amid a CDC warning of several more weeks of significant flu activity.
This year the influenza season started earlier and is peaking at present. That’s about a month earlier than it normally would be peaking. Lots of cases [are] happening, in lots of states, all at the same time.
There were seven pediatric flu deaths last week, bringing the total to 20 for the flu season that started Oct. 1.
High flu activity has been reported in New York City as well as Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia and Wyoming. Outbreaks of the flu have closed some schools in states including Alabama, Idaho, North Carolina, Tennessee and Texas.
Antiviral drugs are also approved and recommended for treatment if taken within 48 hours of the beginning of symptoms. They can prevent serious complications particularly for people in the highest risk groups: children younger than 5 and adults older than 65.
Influenza H3N2 has been the most common strain in this cycle, which is usually more severe. H3N2 causes lots of disease, lots of hospitalizations, lots of cases and lots of deaths,” Jernigan said.
Influenza vaccine is the best way to prevent, but in this season it is not as effective as it is for the other viruses that circulate. A recent Australian study raised the idea that the vaccine might be only 10 percent effective against this year’s flu.
The flu vaccine is still recommended.
It’s never too late” to get the vaccine because the flu season can go on for months. It takes the vaccine about a week to really kick in.
Stay out of work or school if you’re sick, to try to keep everyone else around you healthy and wash your hands.